#Stepsforward, #Transformingloveministries, Blessings, encouragement, Grace, Hope, Inspiration, Journey, Joy, Life, TLM Conference, TLM Events, Transforming Love Ministries

Invest In The Hearts of Others

Are you shopping today?

Do you have ladies on your list and you have no idea what buy them?

Consider giving them a gift that keeps on giving.

Head over to transformingloveministries.org and order your tickets for “She Steps Forward with Grace Women’s Conference, March 26-28, 2020.”

Bulk ticket discounts are also available so you can purchase all the women in your family tickets for an amazing and recharging fun weekend together in March.

Early Bird Tickets expire soon, Dec 15, 2019.

Blessings, Encouragement Today, Gratitude, Holiday, Inspiration, Life, Remembering, Thankfulness, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Blessings

I am wishing everyone a special message of Thanksgiving today.

To those who will celebrate with joy as well as those who will struggle with loneliness and pain, I am sending you my love, peace, and encouragement that today will be a day to celebrate or a day to reflect and be thankful for the blessings you have.

Happy Thanksgiving to each and one of you.

Feel free to share below your thankful blessings today.
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I will begin by being thankful for each one of you who encourage me to keep this page going. I am blessed that God has given me this blog to encourage you all when you need it the most. Big Hugs to each one of you. ❤️

Blessings, Gratitude, Image, Inspiration, Life, Remembering

Honoring The Service of Our Veterans

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

Thank you to all who have served to protect our Country and our Freedoms.

If you ever question the state of our Country and all her faults, consider living outside of it. You will quickly realize the full impact of her worth when you do.

I am blessed and honored to know so many people who have served, respected, and honored her. Thanks to all of you and the sacrifices you have made, she remains a great Nation.

To all my Veteran Friends today, I salute you!!

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Blessings, Challenge, Courage, encouragement, Hope, Inspiration, Journey, Joy, Life, Peace, Thankfulness

Opening Our Hearts to Gratitude

Credit:Homelifeandencouragement.com

It is so easy to get knocked down by all that life throws our way. The busyness, the relationship struggles, the soccer practices, football games, dance recitals, or work struggles; but I want to be your place of encouragement this month. I want to be that gentle reminder to look past it all and find something to be thankful for today.

I am a firm believer that if we look for bad, we will find it at every turn, but if we look for good, we will find it too, in the midst of the mud and the muck.

I will be posting daily reminders in one fashion or another to remind you to look for at least one, if not more, things to be thankful in everyday of this month.

Feel free to leave your comments below. If you would to leave them private message annotate that and I will not make your comment public.

Happy November!

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Transformingloveministries, Blessings, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Guest Post, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Peace, Strength, TLM Blog Posts, Transforming Love Ministries

Finding Peace in Being Single

Credit: transformingloveministries.org

I am sharing a guest post written by Katrina Hodges from Transforming Love Ministries . It is an encouraging and inspirational blog post regarding being single and finding a Godly peace within, when being alone is not socially acceptable.

If you find yourself in a similar situation and you are looking for a peace to get through the difficult emotions that are associated with being alone, then this a post for you.

Read it today and be blessed by the heart and sweet words Katrina shared with us. God is waiting for you so He can bless you with the same peace He has blessed her with.

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Leave a Comment / 12 Months of Emotions / By Elaine A. Lankford

I’m 34. Most of the time I try to block out my actual age because I know I’m over 30, have never been married, and do not have any children. I realize in the eyes of society, my female stock just keeps going down. So, when someone asks me my age, I literally have to take a step back, not because I’m trying to lie, but because it’s one of those things that I don’t like to be constantly reminded of.

There are awkward introductions when meeting new women whereby age 34, if you don’t have a spouse or children, you are the odd man out. In those situations, since I don’t meet societal expectations, I have to find inner validation.

Most women in this stage of life define their identities by being a wife and having children. The next time you meet a woman I bet within 2 minutes you will know if she is married and if she has given birth to a child. Our society is so conditioned to make that the apex of our worth here on earth that it’s hard not to get caught up in it. 

Growing up I knew I would have a family by the age of 27 and be this amazing wife and mother, nurturing a growing family. I had a calculated timeline that could not be interrupted. I was going to have every box checked off of my list to happiness. So, as time began to tick, at 25 I was looking around for my husband. It’s time to get engaged! At 27, I was saying to myself: “Did he get lost?” At 28, I questioned: “Did he fall into a well?” By 30, I had tears running down my face thinking about how I was going to be a crazy cat lady who doesn’t even like cats enough to be a cat lady. I began to ask God what He was doing to me. Why was I being cursed? At this point, if I was a character in the Bible, I would have been Job with the enemy picking on me.  

Then I got this great idea that I’ve got to go on a rescue mission to find my husband because he is apparently lost. I had to form a game plan – I’ll search all the typical places they could be. Listening to others, I took inventory on where they met their spouse. Still no luck, so I turned to the last place I could think to look – church. Ironically, hitting multiple rock bottoms will lead people to Christ. 

I began the journey of walking with Christ but continued a low-key walk to finding a man. Sisters let me say, this is a really bad idea! I cannot begin to describe how problematic this is. A large majority of men in church are already taken or married. Apparently, going to church is an activity that couples tend to do together. So, where does that leave me?   

So just like any good adversary, the enemy started saying some pretty messed up things to me. The words, which played on a continuous loop in my mind, started out as him talking to me and then, somewhere along the way, I started saying those things to myself.

You are never going to get married.  

You are never going to have children. 

You are going to die alone, and no one will be there to mourn you. 

Nobody wants you.  

You are ugly, who would want to marry someone as ugly as you? 

The list could go on. He wanted to hit me with every lie he could think of to discredit and discourage my belief in God’s word and my value to the Kingdom. These became my dark daily affirmations. Because I didn’t know any better or understand the tactics of the enemy well enough, I believed and internalized these thoughts.   

Amazingly, at my lowest point and during my dating churches phase, I visited a church that I would later call home. My intention was to see if there was some eye candy in the congregation. But God walked up to me, tapped me on my shoulder, and introduced Himself.

The message that Sunday was about the Jewish temple and how it was set up. The temple had an outer court, then there was an inner court which was considered a holy place, and then there was a special place further in that only the high priest could enter – The Holy of Holies. The pastor went on to explain the procedure for how the high priest must enter the Holy of Holies. In those days, a rope was tied around the priest in case he displeased God and was struck dead, he could be pulled out without anyone else having to enter this sacred place.

It ministered to me. It made me realize that God is the one who will ordain my high priest and that if someone is not qualified to be in my Holy of Holies, it will cause them to be dead in my life. That message helped me to start healing from my failed relationships. It spoke to me that as a daughter of God, I was too powerful for what those old relationships had to offer. God asked me: “What is being married and having your own family going to provide you with?” “What are you going to gain from these things?” I thought someone to talk to, someone to live life with, someone to love, which is everything I thought I needed to be happy. It was then that God introduced Himself as Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is Peace.

Now when the enemy tries to lie to me, I can reply with God’s truths. I am not alone because my Father is with me. The Holy Spirit tells me: “I made you past a man’s idea of beauty into my idea of what beauty is.” He says: “I’ve always wanted you.” He lets me know that He has enough children in the world that need a mother like me. He enthusiastically wants to do life with me. He’ll even wake me up at three in the morning just to be in my presence and have my undivided attention. When it comes to love, who better to give and receive love than Love itself? He’s wanted to give me these things all of my life. He put a hunger for love in my heart. I was looking for a man to give me identity, purpose, validation, and wholeness but something greater found me and let me know He’s been there all along waiting on me. What I’ve been able to discover is that only God can truly make us whole and anything else is counterfeit.  

During this season of being single, He has told me: “Daughter, I’m taking my time because I love you so much. I want to give you something special. I’m sorry if it seems that when you talk to me about being single that I’m not listening. That is not the case. What I’m doing is talking to the man I’ve called to be your spouse. I do not want to entrust my beautiful creation to just anyone. You, my dear, are not overlooked. Handcrafted things just take longer to make. I’ve intentionally given you this season because you have a lot of sisters out there that you need to set free. They need to know, if they will let me, I can fill the emptiness and they can live in peace during this season of preparation.”

There is freedom in having peace while being single. You have the opportunity to have unadulterated, extremely deep intimacy with Christ like no other time in your life. In you, He has the space and room to do incredible things in you, for you and through you. During your single season, you have the Lord, who will rule justly, fairly, and with reason. He is not a man and not victim to the imperfections of mankind. You have a Savior who has been your champion since the beginning of time. He has been waiting for the opportunity to know you completely. Every attribute of Himself, He is able to unselfishly share with you without you having to split your focus. He enjoys your company so much sisters that He wants your undivided attention a little bit longer. Every creation is special, but some provide Him with a different level of joy.     

I’m 34. I’ll be 35 in March. I haven’t been on a date in at least 4 years. The world tells me I have a biological clock that is ticking. My flesh shows me that the effects of gravity across my body are real. I find gray hairs everywhere. But God, my Jehovah Shalom, reminds me that He made time and if it’s His design for me to have a child, I will have one. If not, He has so many children He needs someone to help love on. God, My Peace, reminds me that the gravity pulling at me really means He needs my heart on this earth a little longer so I can be His hands and feet. God, my comedian, told me the gray hairs are genetic and I got that from my mom’s side of the family.

All jokes aside. The freedom He gives us allows us to choose how we see this season. I have chosen to trust God and believe in His plan for my life. I have peace because I have the ability to show the Father my cheerful obedience and demonstrate my trust. How about you?

Written by Katrina Hodges

#Keepingitreal, Blessings, encouragement, Inspiration, Journal Journey, Journey, Life, Motivation, Real, Rest

Seize The Moments

Sharing Times Together
@Home. Life. Encouragement

As many people are enjoying their weekend off and spending time running errands and catching up with every day life from a busy week, I want to encourage you to remember the simple things as well.

Remember the importance of spending some quality time with those you love.

“Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.”

Unknown Author

I love this moment my daughter captured last night at a football game we attended.

For those who follow my blog, you know the chronic illness and migraines my daughter struggles with on a day basis, so I have learned to truly appreciate the simple things we can share together.

I try very hard to not take time with her for granted, because I never know when we can go from having a wonderful time together to her struggling in pain again.

God gave you your family. Enjoy some time together this weekend.

Do not allow opportunities to pass you by. Those opportunities are moments to make memories and it is those memories you will look back on and cherish one day.

My Friend, enjoy your day together.

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Believe in Yourself, Blessings, Character, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Guest Post, Inspiration, Life, Peace, Strength

Don’t Look Back And Don’t Get Stuck In The Middle — Trophy Of Grace

I am sharing a guest post today from a sweet friend over at Trophy of Grace / DON’T LOOK BACK & DON’T GET STUCK IN THE MIDDLE — TROPHY OF GRACE . I shared and linked you to her page as well. It is my desire you will be inspired by this wonderful post, especially if you found yourself stuck in a place or season in life where you are constantly looking backwards to what you know or what you have been through, instead of looking forward to what God has waiting for you.

If you go over to her page via mine, please leave her a comment saying I sent you (Heidi from Home. Life. Encouragement.)

Enjoy her encouraging post today.

Written by Trophy of Grace

Good morning beautiful TOG readers! Just a little reminder today to “Not look back.” Don’t camp where you were once hurt. It’s important to deal with our brokenness and pain but NOT to camp there. Don’t get stuck in the middle my friend. The middle has nothing for you. “Don’t get stuck in the middle. […]

Don’t Look Back & Don’t Get Stuck In The Middle — Trophy Of Grace

Good morning beautiful TOG readers!

Just a little reminder today to “Not look back.” Don’t camp where you were once hurt. It’s important to deal with our brokenness and pain but NOT to camp there. Don’t get stuck in the middle my friend. The middle has nothing for you.

“Don’t get stuck in the middle. We have to learn to go the full journey. Someone needs us on the other side of the shore line.” Charlotte Gambill

In Genesis, God reveals to Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah are to be destroyed for their grave sins. Abraham pleads for the lives of any righteous people living there, especially the lives of his nephew, Lot, and his family. God said He would spare the cities if 10 righteous people can be found. So the LORD sent two angels to Lot in Sodom but are met with an angry, wicked mob who are then struck blind by the angels. Finding only Lot and his family as righteous among them, the angels warn Lot to quickly leave the city and they said “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won’t be killed.”

But Lot’s wife did, and she became a pillar of salt.

Have you stopped in the valley?

Do you keep looking back?

I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want to be a pillar of salt, lol. Nope! Nope! Nope!

Don’t look back and don’t get stuck at the point of your pain. That my friend, I have done, and it’s not a fun place to be. I have been stuck from things of my past and present hurts.

Just a side note, the Bible has amazing accounts and stories in it from murder, hate, jealousy, and even sex. Yep! Sex is in the Bible. Get in the Word

Another cool story is the man at the Pool of Bethesda, John 5. “Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people; blind, crippled, paralyzed were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

Sounds like a pity party to me….I’ve had a few of those myself.

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bed, and start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bed and walked off.

That’s what I’m talking about…he was healed and he got about His Father’s business and he told of what Jesus has done for him.

That man sat there for 38 years!!! I’d like to think that in 38 years I could’ve wiggled myself to that pool and just fell into it, LOL. I mean that’s a really, really, long time! 38 years???

But isn’t that what we do sometimes, we get stuck somewhere at the point of our pain and we become paralyzed. I know I’ve been there. Truth is I’ve been there to long myself with some things. But you don’t want to be that man 38 years later and your still camped there.

So I’ll ask you, “Do you really want to be well?

Bethesda means “house of mercy,” or perhaps “place of flowing water.”

That’s where I’m headed….to Bethesda! The house of mercy, the place of flowing water.

How about you?

God says,

I know it hurts precious one. I know your wounds. I know your disappointments. I’ve seen the betrayals. I’ve seen your tears. I see your brokenness. But what you didn’t realize all along is that I was with you through the pain, and I am here to make it right. I will work it all out, all the pain, the hurt, the disappointment, the betrayals ALL for your good because your are precious in My sight and I love you. I will give you beauty for ashes. But you have to let go of those ashes, leave them behind so I can resurrect you with newness of life. All those things the enemy tried to steal, kill, and destroy, I got your back. I and the God of restoration. No weapon formed against you will prosper. Remember Lot’s wife, and Don’t look back and don’t get stuck in the middle at the point of your pain. Your destiny is ahead, and I am leading you toward your dreams. I have a hope and a future for you. I am able to do immeasurably more than all you can ask, hope for, or imagine.

~God

Hope y’all have a blessed and wonderful day! Remember, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AWESOME, YOU ARE CHOSEN, AND YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER! YOU ARE A TROPHY OF GRACE!

Praying for you!

Big hugs,

Nicole

Blessings, Holiday, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Joy, Keeping It Real, Life, Love, Parenting

Recognizing My Daughter Today

It is National Daughter’s Day

I am recognizing my sweet daughter for National Daughter’s Day.

I love you Kiddo. Your heart is a sweet and gentle one. You are fun loving and I just love your sense of humor. You always know how to make me laugh at just the right times.

God has special plans for your life and although it is busy now and isn’t always easy for you, one day it will all be worth it.

I love you Katarine!! You make me proud to be you momma!

Comfort, Decorating, Holiday, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life

Sharing Fall Vibes

This image is my favorite fall display. It is on my counter by my kitchen sink. I spend a lot of time here and just love the coziness of this little corner.

Hey Y’all, I am popping in to share quickly some simple fall decorating ideas with you.

Do you like to decorate for fall, but get lost in the feeling you have to go over the top, so you choose to do nothing instead?

My friends, I want to remind you that sometimes the simpler you decorate, the prettier your room will be.

This is a simple decoration I have on my little table at my communication area. This is a simple but sweet decoration whether it is during the day or at night. See next image for what it looks like when the lights are on.

I went through my house the other day and took a few pictures of some simple things I have done, and wanted to share them because bring such a sense of peace to my home.

I shouldn’t tell you this, but it took me three days to decorate. One night I put my decorations out just to put it out and then spent the following days rearranging to my decor to get the look I was striving for. So if you do the same, you are not alone.

It took me this long because my life was crazy busy that week. I took small opportunities to rearrange my decor as I had the time to do so. So if you find yourself in the same situation, be comforted because you can still decorate even if you are busy. Just do it as you have time.

This is an image of what my simple little jar looks like with the lights on.

It is better to decorate over a few of days than it is to get frustrated and not do it at all.

Lastly, do you have a concern that you can’t decorate because your money is tight ? If the answer is yes, then be comforted to know you can decorate with what you have laying around the house.

I used my canning jars with a strand of mini lights and a few leaves and created this look. I showed a picture of what it looks like without the lights on an here is an picture of what it looks like with the lights on.

This simple display is beside the chair I sit at in our media room. It provides a soft and festive fall feeling in the darkness of night.

This display to the right is similar to the above image because it too uses a large jar that I use year round and simply added lights and a few flowers and simply added some flowers and pumpkins to the table beside them.

These are a couple examples of how you can decorate for fall using everyday items as well as a few flowers, leaves, pumpkins, and lights to make a beautiful fall display.

Consider thinking outside the box and your fall decor will be simplistic, but still beautiful.

My favorite fall sent in cleaning supplies this fall is Acorn Spice.

I will attach a few of my favorite fall cleaning supplies as well as my favorite fall tart scents.

Fall Cleaning supplies would be Mrs. Meyers Acorn Spice  12.5 Oz Hand Soap, 16 Oz Dish Soap, 16 Oz Multi-Surface Cleaner, 4.9 Oz Candle.  Be sure to order quickly as their supplies are running out quickly. You can also purchase these in your local Target as well. 

My favorite seasonal Tart this fall is this; Better Homes & Gardens 2.5 oz Mahogany and Sandalwood Scented Wax Melts. “This fragrance is filled with the smell of warm mahogany, aromatic birch wood, crisp juniper berry, and fresh green balsam shimmer with fragrant herbs, touches of sparkling citrus, and smooth sandalwood, all wrapped around sage and sweet moss.” (Walmart.com description) This is a sweet smell when surrounded by the comforts of your fall decorations and creates a warm and inviting setting.

Disclaimer, I am not being sponsored by either Grove Collaborative, Walmart, or Target by promoting the above products. I am simply sharing these products because I am extremely pleased with them at this time.

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Burn out, Discouraged, encouragement, Exhausted, Journey, Keeping It Real, Weariness

Life Is Real, The Struggles Are Too

Just throwing some real life out there….

So all before 7:45am I have the cleanest smelling house in my community.

I managed to discover my hot water heater is leaking right after I opened up a fresh new bottle of bleach. As I discovered some wet stuff on some things in my laundry room, I left my bleach sitting on my dryer and went to get a bowl to put under the leaky hot water heater (as it is a little guy who is elevated above my head). While I was getting my bowl I heard something fall. I returned to my laundry room (which is off our carpeted family room) to find my bleach on the carpet spilling out with 3/4 of it emptied on my carpet. 😪

Now I am totally frustrated as I was hurried to get a few things done before trying to get some work done before Kiddo has her 2nd of 5 appointments between today and tomorrow afternoon.

Now my carpet is ruined and I should get my shop vac to absorb the extra water spilling out of my hot water heater tray when all I wanted to do was get some work done.

Oh boy, turn the cheek… make lemonade out of lemons and move on. I hope God provides me a few extra hours out of my day today.

Now to try to fix my problems.

I decided to show the real and and the raw behind all the encouragement I post.

Life is a struggle and life is real.

If this resonates with you, know I am right there with ya friend.

I decided today to write about it and to share it with you with the hopes you will be encouraged knowing you are not alone with the struggles of life.

Make the best of your day!