How to Recognize and Move Forward on Your Purpose with Toni Ragsdale
Connie: Hi, I’m Connie Sokol, a national speaker, bestselling author, program founder, and mother of seven and loving it. I’m reaching and teaching 1 million listeners to live a purposeful, organized, and joyful life. You can too. So let’s go.
Connie: We’re so excited you’re joining us again for more wonderful insights and wisdom and amazing women. Today, we have Toni Ragsdale who is one of my personal favorites. You don’t know her. You are going to get to know her fabulously today. We actually met by chance at the You Got This Women! Conference, actually a little bit before that. There’s some wonderful experiences and we’ll share that in just a minute, but what I wanted to share today with you and things that can apply in your life that will help you in some way and that will really help you make a difference is that very thing. I talked to a lot of women and they say, oh, I just feel like I have more of a purpose. I want to do something that’s more purposeful, but I don’t know what that looks like because frankly I’m scared. I’m scared to know what that could be. And I don’t even know if I’m capable of doing something like that. I just don’t want to get into something and bite off more than I can chew or I don’t even know if I have the skill set to do anything and I don’t want to fail at it. I don’t know how to go about it.
So I thought we talk about that today because Toni has had a fantastic experience with that. Hysterical and so good. And also we’ll talk a little bit about the whole focus of the You Got This Women Movement is to help women of all faiths deal with their life challenges through faith, family and community, and talk about some powerful experiences we’ve had personally with that together and also in helping other women be able to experience that because we all can use bonding together in that kind of framework.
So just to start off with sweet Toni, I would love for you to share, we got talking one time about this, how she had gotten involved in a ministry that she does with her husband, and it’s helping the homeless. And so I had expected that, you know, it was something that had this big beginning, a very official kind of starting and it’s grown into something beautiful and big; but it wasn’t like that at all. I thought she would be so “okay, this is my mission and this is what we’ll do.” But it was a very unexpected start, at least what I didn’t expect. So Toni, can you let us know how did that, start off?
Toni: The ministry that my husband and I have is called the Fill the Pot, and it’s been an existing now for 10 years.
Toni: And the first year I actually thought my husband was going through a phase really like a teenager got his hair buzzed off on the side, but it was because he lost his brother many years ago who actually was homeless and wants his brother passed away. He wanted to go out and onto the parks and the streets and talk to homeless people and to minister to them and show them love and encourage them. And so I’m thinking he’s feeling this mourning stage and that may allow him to walk through it. So this phase of mourning turned from one month to three months to six months. And then at the time while he was doing this, we had 13 people living in our household, my family, children, husband, my sister, her four kids and her first grandchild.
And we’re on one and a half income cause I worked part time and my husband worked full time and my husband wanted to go out, not just at this point, he didn’t want to just speak to the homeless, he wants a feed them. Our income was very minimum, but we were able to manage and I like to cook, I enjoy cooking actually. And he wanted me to make a pot of Chili like I always do. And so I made some Chili one day and he says to me, can you make the same pot of Chili, basically, I guess I talked to that, that same pot of Chili bag for tomorrow, so I can give to the homeless. And so I’m thinking a calm, um, people to feed. Yes, I don’t have enough money. Um, this man’s cheese, has literally slid off his cracker.
We don’t, we don’t have income. Like really what can we do? And so I go to the store and I get the tomatoes, the meat, and just kind of penny pinching this meal together. So I cook it to the best of my ability, I felt. And so then he comes over, he tastes like, oh, there’s your Chili. And he states to me, what is, this is the Chili you requested! He’s like, this is not your Chili. I say, yes it is. And then he’s like, this is not the Chili we use. We have, and I stated, “Oh well they’re homeless and who cares? They should be happy to get a meal.” And then he just took a step back like he does and said, “Don’t you think it’s best that we give our best to people. Like God gives his best to us.” He said, “You think it’s okay to actually serve them this?”
And my mind is still stuck like, “okay, here we go. He’s going to hit it with the God thing,” and I feel bad about the decision I’ve made. And he know that. I call it the God won. And you know, I know he knows it works. And so I me, I got offended and I say that we have thirteen people in this house. The income, the bills and you’re running around here trying to feed people. So I thought my half -put-together, penny pinching Chili would be enough to suffice people that are homeless and my mindset actually went to how could they complain or be ungrateful when someone’s given them something. But again, that was a lesson learned and that for me about God, giving us his best. He doesn’t penny pitch us. He, he doesn’t give us half ingredients. He gives us everything we need order for us to be able to apply ourselves and to live sufficiently here in the world.
It’s a matter of how we maintain it as well as a lesson well learned from me. But that Chili actually changed my mindset on how I viewed my husband and what he was called to do because I was not on board at all. And it was very challenging for me in the beginning and what helped me to change my thinking is the Holy Spirit just showed me that when we are called to do something at church, we give it our all. A calling, but when it comes to our family, especially our spouse, we want to half-step. And so I decided to look at my husband as my calling and so now I view him as my calling, cause when you’re called to do something, it’s not an emotional thing. It’s not a feeling thing. It’s a duty. It’s a service provided unto God. And so anytime I don’t feel like I want to do something, especially with the ministry. I know that he’s my calling. I don’t give myself any other option and I do what God expects me to do.
Connie: Oh, I love that. And I love how you speak to that reality because so many women have the reality of the budget that comes in. They’ve got to make it stretch. I so been there. You got to make it work and make it fly. And a lot of times the other person doesn’t realize that you’re doing a lot of thin butter over a very hard toast.
Connie: You’ll try to spread it around and I love that this was a real thing. You had to get real about it and go, you know what? We’re giving of our, our whole right here, not just extra. And I am feeding people in our home and that’s, we have a responsibility right here to the people in front of us. Nevermind others. But I love that you opened your soul to, “okay, what could that look like?” And obviously we talked about faith, family and community, you know, being an Interfaith Organization, looking to God and saying, okay, how can you help us here?
We have good desires. We don’t have to just figure this out ourselves. They’re your children. So what do you want us to do? We want to do this. Help us to make it happen. And I love that what started with, how many people did he end up starting with? Cause I was so floored about how when you saw that, and nevermind the fact that it dominoed into how you saw your husband and how that flourished, that part of your relationship, how beautiful is that that you saw that and came in with that support that, that it actually flourished. This Fill the Pot Ministry that started with him just talking to people. What happened from there?
Toni: We start, well he started, with approximately five or six people and it was just like donuts in the orange juice and encouraging them. And then, you know, they didn’t know the way to any man. It’s hard to get their intention attention. So that actually work. And so now any given Sunday we feed approximately 412 people.
Toni: Without fail. And we never close. We’re always open on Sundays and we provide food, we provide, well always hot meals and most of the food is cooked on demand. And we have, um, an area where we cook the food that we have guys in the back working the grill. We provide hygiene, we provide clothing, shoes, underwear, feminine products, um, whatever it takes for someone to be able to survive while they’re out there on the street.
Um, we don’t think about what it is that we’re lacking feel. So one point out to us how much we have cause it’s easy for us to get comfortable where we are and the first time I thought about feminine products is a lady about eight years ago, she whispered in my ear that she wanted a Tampon, a feminine product and I was like, Whoa, wow, you’re feeding, but the basic everyday needs. Yes. And from there on I would just go to costco and to buy things to help supply the everyday needs.
Connie: I love that. And taking it as it comes. I think sometimes women don’t want to start something with something because they feel like, oh if I do this then I’ve got to get healthcare and mental care, all of this. And then we make something simple into something huge.
Connie: This is so reminiscent of Mother Theresa and the way that she said where she said, we don’t look any farther. Then how can we help them? She worked with, you know, the dying and the terminal. Don’t look any further than giving them dignity in the experience that they’re having right now and taking care of those needs they have at this moment. And, and I think that is so powerful. They feel loved. They have those needs taken care of. They know they have somewhere to go. And now you have a building. I mean this is incredible.
Toni: Yes, the building. Um, a blessing. It was an overwhelming blessing. I, um, my husband vision was always to go and have a dwelling. And when you’re in a park for nine years, rain, sleet, snow, hail. You just don’t think about it. Well, I take that back, you think about being inside when it is raining or when it’s snowing. But then once we were inside of the building, I didn’t realize how much it would take to keep up with the building. And we’re like a one, two man show on any given weekday. And so it can be overwhelming at times, but you know, when you’re called to do something again, you give it your best. God give you the strength. You just trust that and it keeps happening day after day. I’m actually amazed that I still get up and do it. I promise you. I’m like, oh my gosh, you’re crazy. You still do this? Yes I do without fail.
Connie: I love that and that, those are two other pieces that I want to point out to the women that are listening that we don’t have to have all the answers and we don’t have to have it all tight and all the loose ends tied. We can just say, wow, I see a need. I’m asking for help and here you have a building that you hadn’t even planned on and the second part is it doesn’t mean it’s all picture perfect. It doesn’t mean that it just all happens and, and everything’s roses. It means that there are days that you go, what the, hey, why am I still doing this and I feel the same way. The other cofounders feel the same way about you got this. We love it. We love it. It’s almost like a child. You love them fiercely but they can annoy the tar out of you because there was all these details and you’ve got to get shoes for them and they won’t, you know, clean up the bathroom and yeah, so you’ve got these realities and that is part of the reality.
It doesn’t need to stop us from doing good and even if it’s just handing out, I know a friend of mine who works with homeless and she would just start out by going and she would go and hand out sandwiches and just to go to just people in the park and she’d hand him out sandwiches. She would say don’t give them money, but she said I’d have granola bars on me or something like that and I would just give them whatever I had. And I mean we want to be, obviously you want to be wise, but the bottom line is you see the need and you say, okay, this is the way that I can feel this today. You don’t need to feel guilty that you don’t have this three point plan in place.
Toni: So true. That’s just a part of society and the media and looking at what the Jones have and what they’re doing, but we don’t understand all the time what it takes to get to that part in life. Just because someone may look like they have a full course meal on the table every night does not mean that’s what’s happening behind closed doors, that God gave us all the strength, the ability and the knowledge and the fire in us to do what we’re called to do its just, sometimes we have to learn how to tap into that. Some of us just us just don’t know how to tap into that and when you have children and a husband, which is another addition to having children, your world becomes that. Yes, but once your kids are older, you have to try to figure out who Toni is. Yeah, I like what I desired. I like what the kids liked at one point I liked what the what the husband life, but every woman has a passionate her. Every woman has a calling in her. Every woman has a purpose inside of her. It’s just a matter of tapping into that. How do I find it and stepping out and trusting that God would carry you and he was show you where are you supposed to be yet when the time comes and sometimes it’s thought of leaving the house and just doing it.
Connie: Yes, and it’s step by step. In fact, that leads me to how we even met. I mean it was like we had had this conversation with the co-founder said, yeah, let’s put on a conference, you know, for Interfaith Women and then connected with you. And you had even written up a plan for a women’s conference, wasn’t that right?
Toni: Yes, yes, yes. I did. I about three years ago. So I was really upset when I, when you guys, I wasn’t upset with you. I was upset when God, that’s when I was like, God, how could this be happening? Why am I not a part of this great plan? You know, I proposed at this at least to two different people and how could this be? How come I don’t know them? And how if your universal, how come we haven’t connected. This was my thing like God, how could my plan that’s inside of me be with someone else and it was, and then now I’m looking at it right now when I visualize everything and think on the past, it’s all about timing. Yes. About timing. Because even when I presented my plan and I still have my proposal, the timing would not have worked at for me to do it, but God still know the desire of my heart and what, what did he do?
He allowed me to be involved with you guys to meet and to be in the midst of it and God to show me you don’t have to be upset, you just have to be involved. Now you have to be a part of the greater plan. Well, it’s not like he didn’t, he, it’s not like God excluded me from the plan because I believe now the plan and the purpose was so much more bigger than what I visualized. Yeah. But he’s actually lucky says that why step, step by step, I’ve taken one foot in front of the other and now that’s the everything that you asked do. No, that was no. Every once in their perspective places I’m where I should.
Connie: And isn’t that ironic because we felt the same way last year. Like we had no idea what we were getting into starting these conferences and the response that it would happen. And yet we’ve had to do the same thing step by step of wow, I don’t know if I can keep going and that he provides those ways. And so I love, I love that we, another point again is we may have our way of thinking of how it’s going to play out and how it should quote unquote play out, but if we’re open and if we’re meek and we stay with the driver, which is I want to make a difference. I want to fulfill my purpose. I want them to a purpose that I know is good and wise. If we’ll just go with that. He will unfold a vision so often that is bigger, better, faster, happier than the one that we started with.
Not that, that discounts any part of our planning or desires at all. Right. We just take our, our plant to him and he makes the garden and it’s okay. That’s exactly what he wants us to do. He wants us to have some thoughts and ideas and then bring them to him and he can say, I can make this even better. This is great. So I love that. In fact, that leads beautifully again to when you got involved. I didn’t know much about you. And then, um, I do have to say when we were at that conference, the day of the conference in here, you know, if you’ve listened to any of the other podcasts, especially the, the first one, when we talk about the origin of everything, but here we had been told it wasn’t going to be successful, blah, blah, blah. And then, you know, we’re lucky if we’d have 100 women and then the day of, we had 600 amazing women in that place was, I wish we could have bottled it.
It was, energizing and loving and wow and learning and people left danger. It was amazing. But as I, as we closed out that day, I will never forget that final prayer that you offered and really it changed my life. And I just want to end for a moment on just tapping into women who are listening, who are dealing with life challenges. We want to help them find their purpose. We want to help them move on it. And then as soon as they do, they’re going to get push-back. They’ve already got challenges in their lives that are going to make them think, I can’t do anything more because I’m just surviving right now. And it’s trying to lift their sights and say, God knows that. And whether you believe in God or a divine influence, a higher power, the universe, just insert that in.
But that is known. That is understood and that doesn’t need to stop us in fact we need to accept it. So that will push us out of where we’re at to take a step into that unknown. So I just want to ask you, has there been an opportunity for you or someone you’ve worked with through faith, family, community that you’ve seen that using one of those things where for me your prayer has helped me deal with some life challenges where it really taught me more deep aspect of prayer, of a really, really connecting with and trusting in him, not just saying my prayers, but as I always say to pray to pray as a mature woman. Is there something that’s happened with you in your life, whether it’s prayer or scripture or whatever, but one of those tools that’s helped you to be able to move forward in a way that you would know you couldn’t have done otherwise to be able to solve a life challenge for you or someone that you’ve helped?
Toni: For myself considering, um, I didn’t grew up in the most healthy childhood atmosphere. You ask any child, they’ll probably tell you that because it is the mantra of the day. All of us have a story, know all, have a story. But I didn’t grow up the most healthy atmosphere with the most healthy parents. And so by the time I wasn’t an adult, um, it took me a while to understand love and the fullness, real love, and to understand making a difference. And so for many years I didn’t attend church, but I when I finally got a hold of God in my life and I first heard the word agape love, unconditional love. And knowing that God loves me no matter what I’ve done in my past, which is so hard for so many women, I think a lot of times that we can move forward, we could be so much more successful in our emotional and our emotions, our mental state and our relationships.
If we learn that the past is just what it is and it should define our future in a positive way and we get so stuck on, I can’t because I used to. And so I’ve learned to not give myself any other option, but to look forward. If it happened yesterday, it happened yesterday. If it happened when I was 12 it happened when I was 12 if I was 15-20-25 I was 15-20-25 so I’ve learned to move forward and I’ve learned to trust myself and I’ve learned to be okay and I’ve learned to like myself so much as fight of what people say or think. I know my intentions, I know my mindset, I know my heart and I’ve learned to say I can’t please ’em all and the press there. Randy is one of my favorites. Favorite prayers is a things that I can change, change the things I cannot let it go and trust God.
But we all have a purpose. We all have a mission. We all have to dig deep inside of who we are and just move forward. Don’t give yourself any option because the enemy wants us as women to sit down. We’re so powerful. We are strong. We are the ones who turns his world upside down. We’re the ones who brings it in and out with the ones who make this possible. Yes, it makes it possible. And once we get ahold of that, oh man, we are unmovable. And I think a lot of women can learn and grow and come together as community. I know we say a faith, how does faith of whatever source works for you? That’s your foundation. But if how does faith were just enough, we would need to have women conferences because support is so we need those things to entwine a pull us together. And will you get a strong woman, a strong sister, whether she’s in the store, whether she’s at the stop light, whether she’s on the elevator that looks in welcome your presence. We can move mountains. So I just encourage us to know who you are and be okay with who you are and be okay with who are you used to be? And dig down and say, I have a desire to do this is step okay, step out and do it.
Connie: I love that. And that is so true. And I think those, those rocks in the road, those obstacles can often be walls and we have the responsibility to own and move them? And I love how you say that was yesterday. That was five years ago. Going back and digging it up, stop piling the rocks that aren’t even there anymore. They’re gone. They’re in the past. And so we either process and move forward or we’re going to stay stuck in. You’re so right. It’s up to us to move the rocks off the road because we’ve got to work to do. And whether it’s, you know, helping kids read at the school to do on a global pause, it doesn’t matter what matter. We fulfilled that because that is what creates that piece for women, that fulfillment that I know I did what I was to do today, no matter what actually got checked off the list.
I love this so much. Ladies, I hope that you can feel this, the truthfulness of what’s being said today and the, the spirit of that where, I love that Toni, where when women come together, miracles happen. It’s just, the way we’re wired and that’s why it’s so key for women to gather and you are so right. If we could just do it by ourselves, then why would we need it? But we do. And women especially are wired that way. And when you have, I think of that old washing well, you know when the women would come together and they’d wash and they’d talk and we are still needing a 21st century washing well where we have this, you know that we come together, we love one another, we see each other’s eyeballs, we rubbed shoulders, we, we put a name and a face to things that are going on and be able to deal with life challenges and say, well how do you do it?
Well, how do you do it? You know, feel that bullying though ladies, if you are feeling that desire, act on it. We have our, You Got This Women’s Conference March 23rd and it’s phenomenal. No, I bet you’re just talking again this morning about the light up or like we are so giddy about this. It’s just a literally you’ve got to be there in person. The energy that the area, the insights, and that’s the connection. The way that women at first they’re kind of in their own little space and then after two hours or all laughing and talking and then they’re walking each other out to the car. You know, and it’s like amazing though.
The experience is matchless, you cannot compare.
Connie: There is just nothing. I haven’t, I’ve been speaking for 20 years and I have not experienced anything like it. So if you’re interested in, come in again, go to, you got this women, it’s an -en, Yougot thiswomen.com get your tickets.
In fact, if you get them right now, you can get them for the cheapest price are going to be. Plus there’s lots of other goodies that you can access as well. So get them right now while they’re hot and they’re going like hotcakes, so get them out but truly gets your sister, your mother. We found that women came with some other women. They were able to sustain more changes. They were able to talk about it in that lingo after a conference because they had that same experience to draw from and go back through. Yeah. So it was just a great thing. So hopefully today you’ve gotten some great goodies. I know I have. Toni, I adore you. I love you. And she just inspires me every time. This even thinking about how you changed your life, your family’s life with how to Chili and how you’re changing other people’s lives every week, all the time.
With with that, just beginning and taking that next step, taking that next step and how you’re still changing more lives with the, You Got This Women, it’s incredible. Thank you so much for your time today. And for anyone who wants to help with fill the pot ministry, what would you like them to do to contact you?
Toni: You can provide my phone number.
Connie: Awesome. We’ll put it on the post so you can just give her a call or a text and you can find out how you can help. And this is in Utah, in the Salt Lake area. So if you’re interested in your local, feel free. If not, you can always donate to it. I love doing that because I feel like this is such a good and worthy thing and I know that every single penny is going to help them and so I just adore this.
Anyway, love you ladies and we just, I know we’re out of time, but wanted to say thank you so much, Toni, for being with me today and sharing these thoughts.
Toni: Thank you Connie. I love you so much. I really appreciate you.
Connie: You Bet. Oh, same back. Love you. And again, if you want to get tickets to the You Got This Women Conference or find out more about it, go to yougothiswomen.com thanks for joining us and stay tuned for more.
Hi, I’m Connie Sokol and thanks for listening today to Balance Redefined. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe and if you liked it, get even more life shifting learning with my facebook where you get more life hacks, experts, community and connection. Join us and add your voice today at facebook.com/conniesokol.