All posts by mrslevite

February Prayer Challenge

What does your prayer life look like? Are you consistent or random? Do you have a system? Do you write out your prayers in a journal? Do you keep an updated ‘prayer list’? Do you pray for people specifically? Or are your prayers more general? Do you pray for your church? Do you pray expecting results?

Today, I want to issue a prayer challenge for you. For the Month of February, I challenge you to pray for 7 people each week. This is 7 people in addition to your regular prayer list. You can pray for each 7 every day each week. Or you can pray for one person per day. This prayer should be intentional and specific – not just something thrown out casually or as an afterthought. I suggest using a prayer journal for this challenge. I would use one page per person. Write their name across the top of the page and then start listing ways you can pray for that person.

If you’re not sure how to pray for those you choose, remember Paul’s words to the Romans in Chapter 8, Verse 26 & 27:

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And as you’re praying, even if you don’t know how to pray for this person, keep your pen and journal handy so you can write down what comes to you through the Holy Spirit. Here are some things to remember while praying:

  • Nothing is too trivial to pray for. What may sound like a frivolous prayer to us, may be just prayer the person we are praying for needs.
  • We don’t have to use fancy or formal words or phrases. It doesn’t have to be grandiose. It just has to come from your heart.
  • Our prayers don’t have to be directly for the other person. Our prayers may be just as much for ourselves with regard to the person. I may pray for my relationship with the person to become stronger. I may pray for God to help me love this person that I’m struggling to love. I may pray for God to show me ways to show His love to the person.

Now I want to talk to you about who you’re going to pray for.

  • I want you to choose 7 people who you wouldn’t typically pray for specifically.
  • I want you to choose the person you don’t have a great relationship with.
  • I want you to choose the person who isn’t a daily part of your life.
  • I want you to choose someone who tends to irritate you.
  • I want you to choose someone who is ‘different’ from you.
  • I want you to choose someone you’ve had a conflict with in the past. Or in the present.
  • I want you to choose someone who you just don’t know very well.

Anytime there is a challenge there needs to be accountability. This will be accountability to yourself. This is between you and God. But at the end of each week and at the end of the month, take some time to evaluate what has happened as a result of this prayer challenge and write it down in your journal. What effects have you seen on the people you are praying for and on you? It’s possible that you won’t see any effects now. Maybe you won’t see the effects ever. But that’s ok.

In Isaiah 55:8-11, the Lord said:

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Just as the Lord’s words will not return to Him empty, neither will ours. There will be results, whether we see them or not.


Thank you and God bless you.

Teresa Levite

Print Ready: February Prayer Challenge PDF

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


I have been listening to the audio book “Principles: Life and Work” by Ray Dalio, founder of investment firm Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds. The first part of the book focuses on the history of the author and the financial industry. But the second part, the principles, is applicable to everyone. You may not agree with all of the author’s principles, but it gives the reader – or listener – a good starting off point for figuring out their own principles.

A popular quote attributed to comedian Groucho Marx is “These are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.”

This was intended as joke, I’m sure, and is often associated with politicians. But this also points out that as we go through life our principles very likely evolve. They may never actually change, but as we mature and have more knowledge and experiences to base these principles on, they become more refined and relevant to where we are in our lives.

Anyway. I was listening to the book on the way to work the other day and then realized that I hadn’t been paying attention and that he was talking about decisions. I’m honestly not sure what his point of that particular section was. What I got out of it, though, is that it’s unlikely that whatever decision you make – and we all have to make decisions – is going to be your last. You will more than likely have the opportunity to make that decision or choice again and again.

So what happens if you make the ‘wrong’ decision? You could sink into a deep depression, beating yourself up, letting the wound be ripped open again every time someone mentions that situation, and be permanently scarred by it. Or . . . you could grieve for moment and then analyze the decision and the consequences to find out what went wrong and how you can make a better decision the next time around – because it’s very likely there will be ‘a next time around’.

Do you know how many people stress about what they’re going to have supper or where they’re going to go for their next meal? Way too much energy is wasted on it. Over and over again. Because you know, in most cases, if you make a wrong decision, you won’t enjoy the meal is the worst that will happen. And tomorrow night you’ll have the opportunity to make a better decision. So don’t stress about it!

There are other decisions that have more serious consequences. You may not want to make those decisions quite as lightly. But if it turns out that you made a wrong decision, what do you think you should do? How about analyzing the decision and the consequences to find out what went wrong and how you can make a better decision next time.

This may be with regard to a purchase. If it’s a small purchase like a pack of pens, you may toss it off, say live and learn, and keep going. And then buy the same wrong pack of pens the next time. Or it could be a major purchase like car. You will probably be living with the consequences of that decision for a long time. If it turns out to be a wrong decision, it would really be in your best interest to analyze the decision and the consequences to find out what went wrong and how you can make a better decision next time.

You make decisions every day. Most of them are minor. Some of them are major. Practice that technique of analyzing the decisions and consequences with the minor decisions, whether the outcome is good or bad, so that when the major decisions come along, you’ll be ready.

What does this have to do with your spiritual life? Everything! We make decisions about our walk with God daily, even moment by moment. Are we analyzing those decisions? Are we looking at the consequences – both when they are pleasing AND when they are painful? Are we trying to figure out what we can do better when we make those decisions or choices in the future?

Whatever our experiences, if we are the same person after the experiences as before, then we have learned nothing. Some of us go through life just trying to avoid the pains of life. But that’s not really living a full life. Wouldn’t it be more fulfilling to make the decisions and choices and risk experiencing the pain of the consequences of those decisions? Sometimes you will have to experience that pain. But if we use that as an opportunity to learn and to make better decisions, think about the life of glorifying and honoring God you could lead. Many of the heroes of the Bible made mistakes – bad decisions. But God loved them anyway. But He didn’t leave them in their misery. And if you let Him, God won’t leave you there, either.

The Circle Maker, Life, & Dreams

I started a new book last night. And now I can’t wait to read the rest of it! This is a Facebook Live video I recorded earlier today to share some of my thoughts with you. A link to the book on Amazon is below.

Recent Videos

I’m going to start adding my videos to my blog – now that I know what I’m doing. But here are a couple of my recent Facebook Live videos I wanted to share with you.

Living Within the System & Partnerships


Wonder Woman & Videos


You’ve Got to Plant Before You Harvest

Well, usually. Sometimes you reap the harvest planted by someone else. A perfect example is the benefits we are enjoying now due to the work done by the ‘women’s libbers’ of the 1960s.

And because so many of us have taken these benefits for granted, we are now losing them and it’s time for us to pick up the work again.

This also applies to the work we are doing with our Young Living business. Others have done a lot of work and made the resources they have developed available to all of us. The resources available for building a business is AMAZING!

Now, not taking this work by others for granted, we are able to begin reaping a harvest. And it’s terribly exciting!

This post is brought to you today

by the essential oil blend Thieves:


I Am A Maker

I’m also a teacher, a learner, and a doer. But right now I’m in a “maker” season of my life. I have revived my Etsy shop and I’m constantly either making something or I’m planning for my next something to make. Here are a few of the things I’ve made recently:

Pony Tail Holder
Kid Sized Pony Tail Holder
Key Ring
Key Ring
Back Pack Style “Quarter for Your Grocery Cart” Key Ring
Key Ring
Key Ring


I’ve been working on much more, but just can’t find the photos on my computer at the moment. I’ll share those when I find them. And then I’ll organize my photos. Again.

Talk to you later. Love ya!


Tatting, My Newest Obsession

Yes, I do this periodically. I find something new and shiny and obsess. Unlike other people’s obsessions, though, mine are almost always craft or art related. I have to learn and I have to do until I have somewhat mastered it.

Sometimes, not always, but often, it’s about the learning. Learning facts and processes are nice, but learning to do – that’s what floats my boat!

My finished first completed tatting project! Yes, I have a long way to go. But completing it is a big accomplishment
My finished first completed tatting project! Yes, I have a long way to go. But completing it is a big accomplishment

I have added a tatting page and will be adding resources there periodically. I’m not planning to turn this into a tatting website. We’ll have to see how far my obsession goes before I start considering that.

Take care and God bless you!


Memorial Day 2016, Danville, IL

Yesterday we attended the Memorial Day service at the Danville National Cemetery. It is the first time I’ve attended a Memorial Day service. It was a very respectful and moving ceremony. I’m glad we were able to go with my father-in-law, a Korean War veteran.


One of the things that really sunk in yesterday was how so many men and women have given their lives for their country. Not all entered the service willingly. Even more, I’m sure, didn’t necessarily believe in the reason for the wars they died in. But they went and fought and died.


What they did believe in, what they died for, was their country. Their country was bigger than the cause, bigger than the conflict, bigger than the risks. They believed in our country – one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.


I can hear many readers now. “But where’s the liberty and justice for all?” Where has it gone? Did we ever really have it? If you’re honest, no, probably not. And it’s probably not going to happen soon. But you don’t give up striving for it. You don’t quit. You stand up for it and for the country that yearns for this for its people. We may never completely achieve liberty and justice for all. But we are (or should be) closer than in the past.


Thank you to all who have given their lives in service of our nation. Thank you to the families who have sacrificed so much. Thank You, dear Father in Heaven, for the hope you give us each day to carry on and continue, for picking us up when we stumble, and for blessing us with so many who were and are and will be willing to serve our nation.    TLS-124

Goals & Objectives, Strategies & Tactics, Task Analysis – Getting things done!

feminine-38Do You Have Goals?

We pretty much all have goals, whether we realize it or not. I have my business goals and my personal goals. Some are short-term; some are long-term. Some are very-short-term. For example, last night my goal was to get up early this morning, no later than 6:00 am. And, yes! I achieved my goal! How I did it – my ‘action plan’, was to go to bed early with my earbuds and an Audible book and to just be ‘lazy’ till I went to sleep. And do you know what? It worked! I woke up early, found the place in the audiobook where I fell asleep, lay in bed listening to a little more of the story (had to get to the end of the chapter!), and got up a few minutes after 6:00 am.

I could have written out my goal and objectives (the measurable steps to get me to my goal). I could have even written out a task analysis if I didn’t feel comfortable about being able to complete any of the required steps. But I didn’t. I just did it. That’s how many of our goals are accomplished. Just doing it. And how many more of them are lost on the wayside. Just thinking about it and not doing it.

Recently I’ve been hearing a lot about S.M.A.R.T. Goals. At the beginning of the New Year, I couldn’t log into any Social Media platform without reading or hearing about goals. And, no doubt, the New Year is the perfect time to start thinking about new goals. If you’re a teacher or student, the beginning of the school year might be the best time for you to really focus on your goals. If you own or work for a company whose fiscal year begins at a different time (July 1 is common), then the month before the fiscal year begins might be when you want to look at your goals. But, seriously, whenever you want to and are ready is the best time for establishing goals.

I first studied creating Goals and Objectives when I was in college studying to teach Special Education. Each of our Special Ed. students had IEPs (Individualized Education Plans). An IEP is a legally binding document that dictates what is taught. Most of the activities that take place in the classroom are directly tied to the goals (always S.M.A.R.T.!) and objectives included in the IEP. The IEP also includes Present Level of Performance, beginning and ending dates, frequency, location, duration of services, and a requirement for progress reports. Individualized Education Plans are reviewed and revised annually (minimum) or more often as needed.

When I started looking at goals for my business, I realized that what I probably really needed was an IBP, and Individualized Business Plan. I still haven’t developed that plan, but now I have the framework to begin. These plans can also be applied to other areas of your life. The seven areas discussed in the book “Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World” would be a good place to start. Start with the area of your life that is most out of balance and create a plan to bring balance back into your world.

But let’s talk about goals first. What is a S.M.A.R.T. Goal? It is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Specific: That sounds a bit obvious, but maybe it’s not. Let’s say I want to work on fitness and my goal is to ‘get into shape’. That’s not really a goal. It’s a wish. In order to be a goal, I have to define what we really want my outcome to be. A goal might be to “be able to participate in a 5K run in September”.  That is specific.

Measurable: Is my goal to “be able to participate in a 5K run in September” measurable? Yes, you can measure 5K.

Attainable: Is my goal attainable? Yes, it is. If my goal was to participate in a marathon, it would not be attainable. Not for me, anyway. I know my physical limitations and know what is required for a marathon. I have never been marathon material. Now, I fully know it’s not a reasonable goal.

Relevant: Is it relevant? For me, yes. Though I’ve never been crazy about running, it is something I would like to be able to do. Walking is more my style, but for the fitness benefits, running would be a great option. If I have friends also participating in 5K runs, the fellowship or relationship factors would make it even more relevant.

Time-bound: Yes, my goal is time-bound. Indicating that I want to participate in a particular run held in September makes it time bound.

Please remember that your goals can be for any area of your life. The fitness goal was just an easy example. The areas that might be more difficult to develop goals for (for me, anyway) would be Friends, Family, and Faith. Those areas would require a bit more thinking on my part. For you, those may be the easiest.


What Are These Objectives You’re Talking About?

Objectives break down the goal into workable, progressive steps – just like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. This brief article explains the difference between goals and objects pretty well.  Objectives can be broken down into even smaller steps, but try not to get too nit-picky.

In the first paragraph, I mentioned my very short-term goal of getting up no later than 6:00 am. A long-term goal might be to sleep 7 hours per night, 6 nights out of 7 per week, by July 1. For anyone who has had a sleeping problem know how difficult this can be. Anyway. That would be my goal. Now I need to come up with objectives – the steps I must take to achieve my goal. It might look something like this:

Goal:  I will sleep 7 hours per night, 6 nights out of 7 per week, by July 1.


  1. Drink only water or decaffeinated beverages after noon each day, 6 out of 7 days per week, for 8 weeks.
  2. Turn off all electronic media no later than 9:00 pm each night, 6 out of 7 nights per week, for 8 weeks.
  3. Pray, meditate, or read for 30 minutes, 6 out of 7 nights per week, for 8 weeks.
  4. Set my alarm clock to wake me at 6:00 am, 6 out of 7 mornings per week, for 8 weeks.

To measure or track my progress with each objective, I would create a chart or checklist to record the days that I complete the task involved with the objective. I would also record the time (approximately) that I fell asleep and the time that I woke.


Strategies or Tactics

It’s possible that I’m not able to master the objective because I don’t have the knowledge or skills required. When that happens I might need to do research or learn a new skill. For example, if I wasn’t sure about which beverages have caffeine and which don’t, I would need to do some research and start reading labels. If I didn’t know how to set my alarm clock (and no, I don’t – Lewis sets the alarm clock), I would need to find the owner’s manual and learn to do that. (By the way, I do know how to use the alarm clock on my phone and I often do. But since I let the battery die pretty regularly, it’s not very dependable.)

But I think you get the idea about the strategies and tactics. These are the skills and information required to complete your objectives.


Task Analysis

If you find you’re not able to complete your objectives, you might need to take another look at your objectives to determine if they are appropriate and then at your tactics to determine if there is a missing skill. Task Analysis is an activity that helps you find those missing skills.

Task analysis breaks down an activity into the simplest steps required to complete the activity. When I did this in college as part of my coursework, I would break down the activity into each step. Then I would look at each individual step. Could it be broken down more? Mentally going through the steps, I would ask myself if there was a step omitted. And then, do I have all of the skills required for each step? What do need to do to be able to complete a smaller step in the activity? This information was listed, going down the page, in order that it occurred for the activity.



Triggers are what happens before the activity occurs. Taking a good long look at what is happening and what you want to happen can help you find triggers that will support your reaching your goal or that will sabotage this. For the sleep example, I may look at my current routine and find that I check email or one of my favorite social media sites right before bed. Since this may be a habit that is interfering with going to sleep at my desired time, I may want to avoid that trigger – triggering ‘stay awake’ rather than triggering ‘go to sleep’.

Then I can think back to a time when I did go to sleep easily and slept through the night. What was I doing then that is different from now? What were my triggers then? As a child and teenager, I didn’t have a specific bedtime. But with 5 people in the house (I was the youngest) and one bathroom, routines were important. That’s how we all got ready for bed with the least amount of interference with one another. I might think back to my particular routine and see how I can adapt those activities to my bedtime routine now.  “Bath, pajamas, brush teeth, turn out lights” may be a trigger that I can rely on now to help me fall asleep quickly.

There is much more to goal setting and reaching them than I could include in this article. But this will get you started. My challenge to you this week is to write down two goals, one personal and one business or career related, and write out the objectives required for you to master the goal. Remember that two people could have the same goal. But because of their own different skills and abilities, the objectives required to reach the goal would be different. You can briefly describe this in the comments and then let us know how you’re progressing. I love to see people reaching their goals!