Can We Talk?

Truth is better received with laughter and something sweet! Encouraging and funny, Yolanda loves Jesus, her family, baking, Disney and time spent with her girlfriends. She is known for being a “realistic optimist”, but that hasn’t kept her from wanting chocolate to be a zero-calorie food!

guest post by Yolanda Lupton

“Yolanda, do you have a minute to chat? I need to run something by you.”

You would have thought I was Wendy Williams…lol. It got so bad my husband would ask when I planned to turn the “Doctor is in” sign around and come to bed. I’m often the one people call when they have a problem or want to bounce an idea off someone.

One day a former boss asked me, have you ever thought about being a life coach? “Not really. When do I have time to do that with 2 kids, a husband and a full-time job?”

I was already doing it and didn’t realize it.

Honestly, I didn’t know where to start formal coaching. I didn’t know of a program or anything, but God had one in mind. One day, I came across Valorie Burton’s book Successful Women Think Differently. I couldn’t put it down. The book literally coached me into my future. Because of her writing style, Valorie seemed so down to earth. I remember telling my husband I’d like to meet her one day. So, I subscribed to her newsletter to connect with her.

One day she sent an invite to her Coaching Intensive Training, an hour away from my home. With my husband’s support, I registered for the 3-day program. At the end, I received an offer to continue to the CPEC (Certified Professional and Executive Coach) Program which is 6 months long. The effect on my family concerned me, but I felt the Lord’s pull in that direction. Once again, my loving and supportive husband confirmed it with a, “Go for it, Babe!”

During the program, I connected with two wise and knowledgeable people, who continue to serve as wonderful sounding boards. My program partner, Dr. Bernita Mitchell of Restoration Church in Augusta, is a trusted mentor and friend. Miguel Miranda is my personal and business coach. Not only did God point me to the training, but to people to support me along the way!

A major portion of our assignments focused on practicing the principles of coaching with our partners, to appreciate what it’s like to be on the other side of the table. Sounds fun, right? Little did I know, God would use this time to deal with some lingering emotions and mindsets. My willingness to dig deep and be vulnerable led to many revelations for me: letting go of unforgiveness and my To Do List, and learning how to rest. This painful, but beautiful, process helped me become more compassionate and present, and less judgmental of others.

I need to face my issues before I’m invited into someone else’s process.

After receiving my certification in February 2015, I asked the Lord what he wanted me to do now? He told me to use my certification for his kingdom first. I’ve done so, sharing God’s wisdom, grace and love with many different people over the last two years. I have met so many great people and learned to use my gifts of speaking and humor to encourage people to move past their fears and live their dreams. In the process, I’ve found my authentic voice and the freedom to live out loud!

By the way, I did meet Valorie Burton, and found her to be cool and down to earth. You know…just like a girlfriend!

Yolanda Lupton, Chief Dream Strategist
Positive-Sum Communications

Hooked on the Book

Meredith Sheppard is the wife of Paul Sheppard, senior pastor of Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. They are the proud parents of two adult children, Alicia and Aaron.

Meredith’s ability to understand and personalize Scripture is a gift to all who enjoy her speaking and writing. Her wisdom, warmth and candid communication style creates trust and openness wherever she ministers.

guest post by Meredith Sheppard

As a child, I accepted Christ as my Savior and received my very own Bible. It was white and had a little gold cross on the end of the zipper pull. My name was embossed in gold uppercase letters on the cover and the crisp, thin pages inside were gilt-edged. I loved my little Bible, but it would be many years until I fell in love with the words written within.

Don’t get me wrong, I understood the importance of reading and memorizing Scripture, which I did as a “proper” young Christian. I even sang songs like, “The B-I-B-L-E,” and “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow…” But what began as something to cross off my to-do list—reading the Bible in its entirety, has become a lifestyle.

It felt good to say I’d finally read the entire Bible. Before then it was pretty much hit-and-miss, although I’m pretty sure I’d read something from every book and read a Proverb a day.

But let’s face it, I wasn’t hooked on the Book.

Even though I was grown up, married, a mother of two, and a pastor’s wife, I wasn’t a student of God’s Word. Yes, I was a Bible-toting, Scripture-quoting first lady, but the Word was not my first love. Trying to be a good wife, raising good Christian kids, being a homemaker, volunteering at my children’s school, being involved in church activities, and attending to an endless list of other demands soon diminished my time in the Word.

No matter how clean and shiny a car looks on the outside, if it doesn’t have fuel, it cannot go anywhere.

I remember once running out of gas and causing traffic to back up, just as I tried to pull into a gas station. A scowling attendant had to come out and literally push me to the pump. How long did I really think I could drive on E?

My outer life was beginning to reflect my inner condition—I was running on empty.

Bible reading is much more than an item to be checked off one’s to-do list. It’s fuel for living—food, living bread, sustenance—our Source of strength and nourishment that sustains our spiritual life. Once I discovered this, I began to devour the Word. I’ve heard it said, “If you fail to eat natural food, you get hungry, but if you fail to eat spiritual food, you lose your appetite.”

In 1 Peter 2:2 it says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”

Bible commentator and theologian, Wayne Grudem, writes the following about this verse: “To drink the milk of the Word is to ‘taste’ again and again what He is like, for in the hearing of the Lord’s words believers experience the joy of personal fellowship with the Lord Himself.”

To know God’s Word is to know God’s will. Time in the Word is time with the Lord. As I now say, “If you get into the Word, the Word will get into you!”

Now I read the entire Bible at least once through each year, because when I’m too busy to spend time with God in His Word, I’m simply too busy!

A precious sister and Twitter friend tweeted, “Prayer and reading the Bible is the only thing, that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

I agree!

If you enjoyed our girl time, you should hang out with us again! We meet every month to share how God’s grace meets us in life’s tight places.

Meredith and future guests share more, just between us girls, in the email version of GirlTime! Want to make sure you join us each month and receive fun bonus content? SIGN UP to receive GirlTime! in your inbox @ (it’s free and I value your privacy).

Talk soon…Vanessa