Parenting can be the toughest assignment on earth, but it can also be the most rewarding. What a privilege and opportunity to help shape the next generation!

Model P31 Fit by Bridget McCray 


A Change in Thinking

Four years ago this month, I was super-excited about the time I’d invested in myself at the gym one particular morning. Why? It’s because I was able to set FOUR personal records! So…what's the big deal about that? After all, it's just my physical body, which will ultimately die anyway. Right?

Well, yes, it will die. However, while I'm still living in it, I want to have the best quality of life that I can have for however much time I have left on this earth.

For me, the bigger issue was the battle going on in my mind. Prior to that day, I didn't THINK I could do the things I’d accomplished that morning. However, when I went then, I’d made a decision to give my best EFFORT. With God’s help and my hard work, I’d accomplished them!

So, again: What's the big deal? For me, it's that my thinking was changing. That day, there were impossibilities before me...at least, in my mind. They were unattainable no more!

I continue to realize that this does not just apply to fitness, but to EVERY area where God has called me to serve Him and serve others. Change starts in the mind!

May I ask: Is there an impossibility before YOU today? I would encourage you to give your best effort, knowing that the Father loves you and wants what's best for you. Though the process isn't always fun, know that the results will most definitely be worth the work! (Hebrews 12:11)

You CAN change your thinking; just give it a try! Here’s to a healthier you!

Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer


Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)


Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!

Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com

Humbly Yours by Valerie Crawford 


ABBA FATHER – Thank YOU for another opportunity to share YOUR truths. Open our hearts and understanding so that we can receive and develop and become workmen not ashamed but correctly interpreting YOUR words so that others can receive and develop and grow. In the Matchless Name LORD JESUS!

In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word. For this “milk” will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life— especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of the Lord Jehovah and have experienced his kindness.   1Peter 2:2-3 (The Passion Translation)


Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good …Psalm 34:8(a) (King James Version)


11 We have much to say about this. But it is hard to explain because you are so slow to understand. 12 You have had enough time so that by now you should be teachers. But you need someone to teach you again the first lessons of God’s message. You still need the teaching that is like milk. You are not ready for solid food. 13 Anyone who lives on milk is still a baby. He knows nothing about right teaching. 14 But solid food is for those who are grown up. They are mature enough to know the difference between good and evil.    Hebrews 5:11-14 (International Children’s Bible)


Developing Spiritual Children



When I was a little girl at my grandparents’ home in South Carolina, I sat in a corner, picked up my Pop’s bible and started reading. I don’t remember the passage, but I do recall my Pastor’s-Wife-Sunday-School-teaching grandmother walking in, taking the bible away & telling me, “I don’t want you reading this.” When I asked her why not, she told me that I would not be able to read the words in it. I remember very vividly assuring her, “Oh no, Nana! I’m a really, good reader! I’m in the top reading group in my class!” She smiled at my innocence and handed me another book – The American Standard Version of the Bible and my own catechism to study. Then she explained that she knew that I was a good reader, but she wanted me to use a version of the Bible that would make the words plain and clear to me.  Little did I know that Nana was my first lesson in establishing and developing a Spiritual Child! My Nana was my first MasterLife Facilitator!


She saw my ‘infant’ need for nourishment and as my first real disciple-builder, began gently establishing the roots of a new spiritual child. Yes, I needed (NEED) the WORD to grow and flourish but Nana also recognized that I needed ‘milk’ just like Peter said in 1Peter 2:2-3!  Peter reminds me of my Nana with his ‘gentle’ instruction to crave the WORD like a baby longs for milk.


As babies, we ‘discovered’ new tastes all the time, don’t we? “Mmmm! What was that?!? It was good and it plunked in my tummy!” Their little fingers grasp for it! “More! More! More!” And our grown-ups happily share, excited about the eagerness and anticipation!

But not too much – not yet. You must establish a tummy strong enough for the next thing. We don’t introduce peaches and peas at the same time, for example, because we need to recognize if there are allergies and what to address.


And the same way we entreat a new-born baby, we should help our new-born spiritual siblings to grow and be strengthened … Established. But we can’t stop there! There is more - much more! At some point, I would need to move from the pureed peaches to a pork chop!


Now, if my Nana was my Peter, then without question, my Margaret is my Hebrews Writer! Margaret is my spiritual Mom and one day, when I was falling apart at her kitchen table, she asked me a simple question that I still apply today. “You’ve been down this road before. What is this really all about?


That was the best question ever! It caused me to look deep inside to the root of the situation and say to my Self, “Listen – you are not a baby anymore.”  

The fact was - I HAD been down that road before! It was time - beyond time - to apply the Word that I danced and shouted to every Sunday!


“You should be on meat by now. You should be helping, teaching, guiding … DEVELOPING someone else!”


From my ‘great cloud of witnesses – my Nana and my Margaret to Latriece and Mother Coates; from my Pastor Burton to my Cousin Pastor, from my Pop and my BishopPastor all the way to Peter and that Hebrew guy; – I have learned this very important thing:

 In the same way that we don’t leave a human baby to fend on his own, we must initially slow walk a babe in CHRIST. The same way we would not serve a T-bone to a 3-month old, we must offer helpful, loving, patient guidance and aid to our new or newly rededicated siblings in CHRIST … allowing for baby steps and stumbles. Then, later, when they face the bumps in the road along the way, be there to remind them that GOD’s Mercy still endures, and HIS Grace is still sufficient!


Then we can watch like I imagine Barnabas and Ananias did, with the humble pride of parents, as our spiritual children walk across the stage, fully-developed – ready to join and perhaps even to surpass us in ministry.


One plants. Another waters. And ABBA FATHER continues to provide the increase!


Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”   Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

Cindy's Featured Artist of the Week - Cortney Haskell 


CORTNEY HASKELL

Cortney is a Washington DC-based creative who has always found passion through artistic expression — art, dance, singing, music, etc. ‘Art x Spirit’ was created from faith and his desire to share the gifts held within his art. With a focus on portraiture, Cortney creates illustrations that draw inspiration from various spiritual and esoteric concepts such as archetypes, astrology, and mysticism.

To Cortney, magic is not the same as fantasy or fairytale, and it is with the familiarity of the human element that he allows us to experience the world in its divine nature.


Cai Guo-Qiang, a Chinese contemporary artist, says that “the artist, like an alchemist, has the ability to transform certain energies, using poison against poison, using dirt and getting gold." Recognizing art as a form of alchemy, Cortney’s illustrations are intended to transmute the audience’s perception of how they relate to the world. This is the ability of the creative; manifesting reality through art. With his art, he offers only perspectives that paint his subjects as ethereal, beautiful, divine, and powerful. After spending time with the imagery, the viewer will immerse themselves in the scene and draw conclusions about their relationship to the world.

Cortney’s work is a timeline of his journey with spirit. Every new piece that he creates is infused with the spirit of his creative force, documenting his growing understanding of spiritual sciences and his growing relationship with nature. For the individuals who spend more than a moment with his projects, the imagery will open you up to the magic of the earth. Spirit exists within all things. Art x Spirit is a business that blends art and spirituality in a way that highlights our connection to spirit. It is Where Art Meets Spirit.


Cortney can be found on Instagram and Twitter @crtnyilan, and @artxspirit for Art. For commissions, he conducts free consultations via DM or email: cortney@artxspirit.com. Check out his website www.artxspirit.com for future updates and to see what he has in store!

Model P31 Moms by Bridget McCray 



Handling Disappointment

A couple of years ago, my sweet girl had had a rough day. She’d found out that she, along with a handful of others, had all been replaced for a segment involving the movement of large props in their school’s upcoming performance. She was beyond upset and shed lots of tears. I had a hard time even understanding what she was trying to say.

I reminded her that in the showcase earlier in the year, several people auditioned for the solo part, but she was the one selected to do it. I told her that though the others who’d auditioned graciously cheered her on, some of them might have been saddened that they weren't selected for the solo.

I explained that no one likes disappointment, but it is a part of life. I told her that she should ask herself what she could've done better, if anything. I also said that sometimes even our best isn't good enough in particular situations, but we can always learn something. I suggested that she keep a good attitude and cheer on the same people who cheered her on when she got the solo.

When she retold the story to her dad, in his own humorous way, he said that if the job was to move something from Point A to Point B, but it was moved to Point C, then the job wasn't done correctly, to which she chuckled and agreed. Thankfully, she "came around" and was herself again after a short time. She apologized and asked forgiveness for expressing disappointment the way she did.


Growing pains: The difficulties that can help us to become stronger, if we allow them to do so. The situation brought to mind a key life principle that day: Disappointment will come. Keep it in perspective!



Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer

Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)

Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!


Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com

Model P31 Moms by Bridget McCray 



When the Answer is “No”

Not long ago, my daughter asked about having a sleepover. Even though she’d recently had one as part of her birthday celebration, she wanted to have her friends visit again.

Ordinarily, I would have had no problem with that. She does well academically and in her extracurricular activities at school. However, I’d been observing that she had become a bit lax in some of her responsibilities at home.

I told her that this time, we would pass on the sleepover. Of course, she was disappointed. She asked if she’d done anything wrong. I simply said that I found myself growing weary of repeating myself about things she knows she’s supposed to do at home. Though she felt sad, she did understand.

I explained to both her and my son that part of my job is to rear them to be responsible citizens when they grow up, God willing. Though I want them to have fun experiences, their responsibilities come first before entertainment. I am happy to accommodate their social calendars as best I can but made it clear to them that I am not required to do so.

In talking with my daughter, I put the ball in her court. I asked if there was something I said about what she’d been neglecting that was untrue. She replied there was not. I told her that I’m looking to see consistency in what she does at home, not just doing things until she gets what she wants. She understood.

I shared that part of loving her and my son is discipline and that if I didn’t love them, I wouldn’t care what they did or didn’t do. My son chimed in and said, “We’d be spoiled brats! I hate to see people (who behave) like that!” Well, I think he got it!

Sometimes, it may be hard to decline a request when we look into their beautiful faces; yet as parents, we would be doing them a disservice by always consenting. Would we really be preparing them for life, if the answer were affirmative every time they asked for something? In my humble opinion, absolutely not!

We will be held accountable for the children God has entrusted to us. May we, as parents, seek His wisdom on when to say “yes”, as well as when to say “no”.

(This article was shared with my daughter’s awareness.) 



Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer


Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)

Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!




Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com

Model P31 Moms by Bridget McCray 





Detour or End of the Road?

While on the way to teach a fitness class one morning, I was driving in the lane I normally use to get to the next highway. What I didn’t realize was that, due to construction, the traffic pattern had changed from the previous week. This meant the lane in which I was driving would no longer take me to where I wanted to go.

I felt frustrated because I’d missed my exit and knew I’d have to go farther than usual to get off the highway and get to the right path. I exited as soon as I could and pulled up my destination. The voice map said to turn left, yet my instinct said to do the opposite since that was the general direction I needed to go. 

I followed my gut, knowing there had to be an easier way to get to the correct highway and traveling in the right direction, which turned out to be the case. The detour took about ten minutes, yet I still arrived safely to my destination and was even 45 minutes early.

So…why did I share all of this? Life lessons, of course! I had to choose to:
1. Own the mistake (Having to make a detour for not paying closer attention)
2. Make the necessary adjustments, based on what I knew (General direction of my destination)
3. Follow my instinct (Actually, drive in the direction I “felt in my gut”)

As parents, are we willing to do these same things regarding our children:


1. Own the mistakes we make with them? Perhaps:
  • Not setting clear boundaries
  • Speaking to them as though they were less than human, in the name of “establishing authority” 
  • Ignoring them
  • Admitting that we’re learning too, and don’t always get it right
2. Make the necessary adjustments based on what we know? Maybe: 
  • Considering a change in our approach to communication to ensure they understand what we’re trying to convey
  • Discontinuing the notion of “that’s just how I’ve always done it”
  • Allowing them to respectfully have a voice
3. Follow our instinct? (For me, the Holy Spirit) 
  • Being willing to break traditions that are useless
  • Taking actions that may not make logical sense, but “something” inside says you should 

There is NO perfect parent on earth; that includes us. We ALL have room to grow, no matter the ages of our children. As long as we’re still breathing, there’s still time. What a blessing and a privilege to serve in this wonderful role, having opportunities to positively impact generations to come!

God has wonderful plans for His children for His glory. Be encouraged: A detour does not have to mean the end of the road! 
Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer

Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)

Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!


Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com

Model P31 Moms by Bridget McCray 

Bridget McCray



Important Things?

Imagine a world where there were no broken children…a world in which no child suffered neglect at the hands of his (or her) own parents. “…but, I provide everything my child needs. He (or she) wants for nothing,” one might say.

Though the child may have every THING, would he have our focus if he needs to share a concern that a friend may harm himself, or would we be too busy looking at the big game or binge-watching our favorite show to listen?

Though the child may have every THING, could she tell of how she was selected to sing the solo in an upcoming play for which she auditioned, or would we be subtly distracted as we checked our various social media pages for the latest “news”?

There are so many people and things competing for our children’s attention. Yes, we provide things that they need, which is part of our parental responsibility. However, are we listening to them, I mean REALLY listening?

Do we take time to notice their body language, their facial expressions, and the tone of their voices when they try to talk to us? Is it possible that they just walk away, because we don’t even take the time to acknowledge their presence when they try to communicate with us?

Even as I write this, my heart is convicted, as I know I’ve been guilty of these things at one point or another. I want my children to know that they are loved and valued as part of our family. Besides the provision of basic life necessities, the “thing” our children need most is our time and attention. Would you agree?



Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer


Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)

Available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and eBook formats!

Booking Information
Please visit www.bridgetmccray.com

Model P31 Moms by Bridget McCray 



Broken

Imagine a world where there were no more broken children…a world in which no child ever had to endure the pain of his parents going through a divorce, never felt she had to question if she did something to make Daddy or Mommy go away, or experienced the feeling of “betraying” one parent because of having to live with the other.

Imagine a time in which there were no more broken children…a time when children were in an environment where there was transparency about both the joys the and challenges of relationships and were not “doomed” to repeat the mistakes of their parents without knowingly doing so.

Imagine a place where there were no more broken children…a place where before they existed, their parents came together in marriage only after much prayer, observation, and deep conversation, asking the hard questions about family history regarding relationships, finances, and other things, in an effort to avoid any destructive patterns that may have previously existed, in order to ensure a different and better future for generations to come.

Imagine…

Bridget McCray

Author and 2018 International Book Awards Finalist (Health: General category), H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)

Available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats!

http://a.co/6QWpcgO

For speaking engagements, please contact Bridget through her website at www.bridgetmccray.com


Bridget McCray
Contributing Writer

Model P31 Moms by Bridget McCray 




Humble Pie!

The mom, who woke up early to take her son to an athletic camp, only to discover that the camp doesn't meet on Fridays, and her son says, "I tried to tell you, Mom," and she "rips him a new one," only to find out that he was correct, after she called her husband to verify what was on the flyer and realized that she did, indeed, overlook that important piece of information, then bursts into tears for "chewing out" her son for no reason: Yep! It was I!

This happened last summer, yet I can still see it as clearly as if it were yesterday. I cannot explain how incredibly small I felt in that moment. Immediately after hanging up with my husband, I apologized to our son and asked if he would please forgive me for what I'd just done. His response, without a hint of anger or frustration in his voice: "Yes, Ma'am."

What did I take away from that situation?

(1) Effective communication in any relationship is critical. We all want to be heard, but how often do we listen… really listen?

Our children are people, too. They want to be heard, as well. If we don’t actively listen to what they’re saying, it is likely that they will stop talking to us, telling us what’s in their hearts. Is that something we would truly want to happen? I know I wouldn’t!

Why was I so busy or distracted that I did not allow myself to stop and listen to what my son was trying to say? What a relief that there wasn’t something more serious he needed to voice at the time!

(2) I was reminded that since I have two ears and only one mouth, perhaps I should listen twice as much as I speak. Hmmm…

(3) I was able to reflect on how imperfect I am as a mom. Even more so, I couldn't help but reflect with gratitude that despite my imperfections, I am forgiven.

Thank you, Son, for being an example of one who extends forgiveness. Thank You, Father, for Your Son, Jesus, Who offers forgiveness for all who come to Him!

I will choose to put my active listening skills to work so my children will know that they can share their thoughts and concerns, whatever they may be, with me. Will you commit to doing the same?

Bridget McCray

Contributing Writer

Author, H.E.A.L.T.H.: It’s Not Rocket Science (My Journey to a Healthier Me)
Available now on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats!
http://a.co/6QWpcgO