My mission is to provide you with inspiration and encouragement to live everyday to it's fullest. I do this by sharing the simple things in life such as recipes to the most difficult of things such a life. We all know life is a struggle and many days a balancing act, but I am here to inspire you to do it well. Everything I write about is designed to inspire as well as encourage you to be a "better" you that you can be. Everything I share is raw and real. I do not cover up or sugar coat what I write about. This would benefit no one. My goal is for you to walk away feeling uplifted and encouraged after leaving my page. Lastly, I am here to remind you that you are… enough and beautiful… just the way you are.
My friend, Today’s Encouragement will be a simple reminder that no matter what you are going through, whether everything is going well, or whether everything is going badly, there is a reason for all of it.
God reminds us in Ecclesiastes,
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)
If you are going through a difficult time remember this and be encouraged that with every second and every hour God is growing you and molding you for a better plan and purpose.
He never allows us to go through the muddy waters of life without allowing us to use those difficulties later and somewhere else.
I have experienced some great difficulties in my life and as I was going through them, my greatest consolidation was that there was a purpose for it. Whether the purpose was to help me conquer a trial later or if it was to help encourage someone else, I knew in my heart there was a reason for everything I was going through.
It didn’t come easily though, because there were many days I remember saying, “Lord, this is hard, this is really hard, but if you can use this hardship later to make someone else’s life a bit easier, then I will be okay and I can do this, but only with Your strength.”
I needed to know there was a reason and a purpose for the difficult season in my life and God was always there to reassure me there was.
My friend, if this is you today and you are struggling in a difficult relationship, you are struggling financially, or you are struggling with a sick family member, a close friend or even a spouse. It doesn’t matter if it is all of these or none of these. What matters if you are having a difficult time is to remember these simple, but powerful words;
“There is none like You, Lord.”
Stand tall today, hold your head just a little bit higher, and know your God knows you, sees you, and above all else, loves you.
Do not be discouraged if you are going through something and you keep praying over it, and God keeps saying, “No, not now”.
My friend, God is hearing your prayer and is wiping your tears, but no matter how discouraged you are, He will not answer your prayer until His timing is perfect.
When His timing is “perfect”, you will only be able to say, “Wow”.
Wait for His timing. Wait for your, “Wow” and know you won’t regret it.
But until then, keep praying as He hears your prayer.
He has not abandoned you. He wants you to lean on Him. He wants to know you need Him.
Trust God and His timing, even if it doesn’t make sense. Trust His timing even when the pressure of others is intense. They do not know what He is doing, just as you don’t, but don’t give into their pressure.
If God is not directing you, then continue to wait.
My friend, you’ve got this no matter how difficult your trial is.
There will be a reward for your wait. It may come in an hour, but it may take six years or more, but keep trusting in God and know He will meet your need, no matter what it is.
Are you weary from constantly making important decisions?
Are you exhausted from always putting out a fire?
My friend, rest on the promises God provides us,
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV”.
God does not expect us to always solve our problems or even carry them.
He wants us to turn to Him when we are weak and weary.
You’ve got this Friend! Rest today and give your problems to God. Allow Him to create your solutions.
During this time of constant busyness and chaos, we find it easy to focus on all the difficulties and hardships life brings us, but today, I want us to “intentionally focus” on finding something joyful in our day.
For some, this may be found in the smallest of places, while others may find this to be easy. It does not matter how easy or hard you may need to look, my question is this, will you join me in pledging to live intentional while seeking something joyful in your day?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2 (NIV)
It is my desire to start a trend where we daily seek to find some joy in our lives, even if we are living in amid our darkest of times.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (NIV)
We can all agree that life is hard most of the time and unfortunately, we can easily focus on those hardships, but God shows us in both James and Romans that we have a reason to be joyful, even while living in the midst of some of our hardest of times.
There is a key to finding joy when we are having difficulties because of the darkness we may be living in.
The key is to retrain ourselves to “live intentional” while looking for the joyous moments in our lives.
By doing this, we will be able find the power to disregard the negativity while seeking to live a more positive and intentional life.
My friend, I know how hard life can get and how dark it can appear at times, but I want you to know, you are important and you deserve to be happy no matter how hard life has you knocked down.
Take some time today to intentionally and purposely look for something which makes you happy. When you find it, cling to it, be thankful for it, and do not allow anyone to take it from you.
My Friend, make the time to find your joy today!
Feel free to leave, My Joy Today was…below in the comments section.
I would love to share in your joyful moments. We often rally around those who are in the midst of hard times but often forget to share in the joyous moments too. Today, I want to share in your joyful moment and be thankful along beside you if you will have me.
Has your week been a difficult one? Is your day starting out less than desirable?
My friend, know you are not alone. The struggle is real, as sadly as that may sound. There are many days that are not easy and just make you question yourself or decisions you have made, but I am here today to encourage you to know there are brighter days ahead.
Keep you head held high and know if you focus on what is in front of you and not on where you have come from, then you will be encouraged to know there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Remember today, you can get through everything you are struggling with because you are… strong enough, brave enough, bold enough, and beautiful (or handsome) enough.
I am popping in to say I am still here. Last week ended up crazy busy because Kiddo stayed well enough for me to in fact paint the inside of my house while my husband was gone. I am so happy I did because I have a “real” confession to make, my house was filthy.
When I began to tear it apart to get into the crevasses and corners you do not see on a regular basis, I began to see stuff that made me cringe. It truly broke my heart because Kiddo is highly allergic to this kind of dust. It makes me wonder how much our own home was contributing to her sickness?
Well, it is clean, updated, and fresh again. As we were making these changes we were both excited because we like change. Change breathes life into whatever it is you are changing. It to us is not a bad thing because we love it, however, to my husband he was not impressed when he came home to my freshness and change.
He hates change, but I was to be able to paint and make over rooms in my house in the past. I suspected he was not happy this time though because when he came home from being away his silence was deafening. I was not able to get everything I wanted to be done because he was not gone long enough, so he did not see what I have envisioned yet. I was not able to get the trim painted or put up the special signs I am going to make. At this point, I have decided to wait on painting the trim as I think this will truly be too much change. He needs to sit on these changes for a while.
I have an immense “raw and real” confession to make, this rejection hurt me to my core. I do everything I do to keep our home running efficiently while both he and my daughter spend more time sick than they do well. I run them to their countless doctor appointments so I can stay on top of their health issues and so for me to do this because it made me feel good was beyond disheartening.
I got extremely upset Saturday night and had a complete meltdown. I was yelling and screaming (not my finest moment or one I am proud of), but it was because I was tired of hiding my hurt and exhaustion any longer. I was tired of hiding behind my mask that says it is okay you hurt me again. Unfortunately, I crushed my sweet daughter in my rant because it started with her and I arguing with each other over my not willing to go to Washington DC for Veteran’s Day, but that was not even what had me upset. I was upset with her dad and his stubbornness to see these changes were important to me and that I needed this for me to find my happy place again. She didn’t know this. She only saw my emotions boiling out of control to the point they erupted like an out of control volcano.
I told you this to share my deepest and real feelings which I hide from behind my mask, the mask that says I have it all together when in full disclosure, I have nothing together. As my husband told me the other night in my fit of anger and yes rage at one point, I have become psychotic and I need help. This is only his perspective. I, however, stand on the truth of my own emotions. Unstable is the least of my problems. I am however over-worked, over-burdened from carrying the load for both of us for so long. I am exhausted both mentally and physically and depressed for the lifestyle we are living in now and will continue to live for him to be happy here. What he does not realize, understand or see, is that if I was as unstable as he believes me to be, I could not continue to carry the unbearably heavy load I carry to ensure he has a happy life while he struggles with the burdens of dealing with his own PTSD.
I am not sure how it has happened but since 2012 I have tap danced around my husband’s war triggered PTSD and anger. I have walked on cartons worth of eggshells to keep him happy. We stopped doing things we enjoyed as a family. We stopped attending events that were crowded because that was an anxiety trigger for him. Now both my Kiddo and I have found (as of this weekend that crowds make us both nervous and uncomfortable). I knew change upsets him so I make few “big” changes so he will not get upset, but my friends as I have found years later, giving in to all of this is not healthy for you as an individual. Your attempt to help them all the time is actually enabling what will become bad behavior and behavior that can, in turn, cost you everything. Everything meaning your happiness, your identity, and your life.
Be careful how much of you, you give away to others. I have done some serious soul-searching over the past couple of days as I was on a personal quest to make changes within myself to find “me” to be truly happy again. Now I find myself at a crossroads because if my husband hates change to the point of me writing my deepest and rawest heart out here, then I have a much bigger problem of making changes within my own heart. He is not going to like the personal changes I make within myself because he will feel the effects of some of those changes.
So this is the question I am left with … do I continue my journey of self-discovery at the cost of everything, that meaning my marriage of almost 25 years and my family? How much is my need for change worth to me?
Please forgive me as this post is deeply personal and I am writing from my rawest moment this morning. I am at this moment of pondering this simple quote written by Rachel Marie Martin in her book, The Brave Art of Motherhood,
“Be brave,” says my spirit.
“Wait,” says fear.
“Have courage,” says my soul.
“Not yet,” says worry.
“Dare,” says my heart.
– Rachel Marie Martin
The Brave Art of Motherhood
Where does this journey take me? Where does God want me to be in five years? How do I regain stability in my life again? All of these are questions I have and still need answers to. As I continue to find my way in life, I will continue to write about them as it is my deepest desire that if my heartache can help someone else to know they are not battling their own battles alone, then all of this pain will be worth it in the end.
Today, I want to encourage you to, “Believe in yourself.” This simple phrase has kept coming back to me since this past weekend, and the time has come to share it with you as well.
Do you find you struggle with…
Thoughts of self-doubt?
Lack of self-confidence?
Lack of trust for others?
Believe lies you tell yourself?
Struggle with fear?
Struggle with anxiety?
Struggle with feelings of worthlessness
These are strong and powerful emotions and if they are not contained and corrected, over time they can become damaging and even destructive. I want you to consider as you read this which of these emotions do you struggle with? How long have you felt them? Why do you believe them and what has prevented you from breaking free from the power of their bondage? I would also like for you to think about if any of them trigger other emotions within you and what do you feel as you experience them?
I know as I evaluate this list I struggle with lacking self-confidence which I know is triggered by the power of fear. If I was to evaluate why and what caused it I would have to look back at my childhood. I lived in a home with my single/divorced mom from the age of 5 to the age of 14, when she married my dad. I grew up in a home with a family history of a perfectionists and if you did not do everything just the “right” way, then it was not done correctly.
As a result, everything I did, and it did not matter how big or small it was, I would doubt myself and tell myself it was not good enough, it was not perfect enough, so, therefore, it did not measure up to the “perfect” test. As a result, I live my life today believing whatever I do is never done the “right” way, so therefore it is never good enough to meet the standards I was raised with.
The toughest test I had to pass was when my dad died. My husband was deployed overseas for a short deployment and my dad was in poor health, so I decided to go home in case something happened while my husband was gone. Unfortunately, my greatest concern came true. Thankfully my mom and I had discussed the “what if” scenario leading up to this time because she knew she would not be able to handle his passing well.
This turned out to be the understatement of the year. While we were making funeral arrangements with the funeral director, my mom became very sick and instead of going to the flower shop next to pick out our flowers for the funeral, I had to take Mom to the Emergency Room, at which time they admitted her into the hospital. All I could think of was what am I going to do now?
My dad died the other day, my mom is now in the hospital, today is Saturday and his funeral is on Monday. I was unable to get her doctor to commit to me that my mom would be out of the hospital in time to attend my dad’s funeral, and I had to finish planning it in case she was, but also be prepared to change all the plans if she was not. What was this going to look like for someone who struggles with a lack of self-confidence? How am I ever going to finish his funeral and get everything “perfect” to meet my mom’s expectations (because she told me countless times his funeral was going to be done perfectly)?
My lack of self-confidence ran away with me, fear held me hostage, and anxiety consumed me and somewhere in all of this was the fact I missed my dad and was grieving his loss, but that had to go on the back burner, because I had a small window of opportunity to finish planning his “perfect” funeral for my mom.
I remember so clearly that feeling of helplessness because I lacked the self-confidence to make the important decisions for fear of making a mistake and messing up. This runs my life still today. As it was, I did finish the arrangements, I got mom out of the hospital with two hours to spare before his visiting hours were to begin and I did the “best” job I knew how to do. It all came together and my mom has very few vivid memories of the details for all the medicine she was on at the time. It just means today she cannot find fault with anything I did or did not do.
Other examples in my life where I struggle are writing in my blog because everything I write has to be “perfectly” written. I struggle with being a wife and a mom. I find I must do everything the “right” way or it isn’t done properly. I try to keep my house orderly and as clean and tidy as I can with being so busy. I try to keep the yard neat and presentable because it is an outward reflection of our family. I try to keep up with all the health needs of both my husband and my daughter because this is important to me.
All of this is done with an expectation that is unrealistic for me to maintain because I lack the self-confidence it is all done right, so I just keep trying and trying and when that fails, I try harder. I understand this is seriously faulty thinking, but it was how I grew up and what I learned to believe.
I have been telling myself a lot lately, it is a good thing my mom isn’t around because if she ever saw all the shortcuts I make in my life now, I feel she would be disappointed in me. I have had to learn through the craziness of life that survival is more important to me than perfectionism.I have had to force myself to come to terms with the fact perfectionism is not healthy. No one can possibly live up to the standards I have spent years placing upon myself. I have a long way to go and I am sure if you were to ask my family if I have conquered this they would loudly say, no, but I am determined to bring a sense of self-confidence into my life.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you struggle with deep down and often times hidden emotions that lead you to where you are struggling today?
My friend, I have hope for you.You do not have to live in this bondage any longer. You can choose to change this game and move past it. You can learn a new way of living and be happy with who you have always wanted to become. You can break the chains that have held you captive.
The first step to making this change is to identify the leading cause for everything you have experienced and identify why you have not allowed yourself the freedom before now to flee from it.
I want to share this quote from my friend, Rachel Marie Martin’s new book, “The Brave Art of Motherhood”. There are many life lessons I have learned by reading this book, but this quote is the one I am going to use for this blog post.
The lesson I have learned through examining my own life is that I have allowed fear to have power over my ability to change what I did not like.
“Fear is a stifling voice of the unknown. It takes self-confidence to muster the courage to unearth the fears holding you back. It takes faith to examine the fears and replace the fallacy of most fears with truth.” – Rachel Marie Martin
I have learned fear has stifled my self-confidence and I lacked the faith to break free for the bondage it held me at. I believed all the faulty thinking and believed I had to live this way and accept it even though I did not like it.
My friend, you do not have to do this either. You do not have to allow fear to hold you captive to the things you struggle with. I want you to examine your life and determine if the power of fear is the holding you back from living your life to your fullest? Has it held you back from following your dreams and achieving your goals? If it has, please take the time to first,
“BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!”
Secondly, I want you to tell yourself that you will not be controlled by fear any longer and that you will battle those lies you have believed for years and in the end, I want you to believe and have the faith you will rise above it all and stand taller and stronger than anything you have allowed yourself to believe in before.
Lastly, My Friend, I can not emphasize this concept enough…
“Believe in Yourself!”
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“Good Morning”, the cordial greeting of the day. You put a smile on your face and you return the appropriate greeting and then comes the common follow-up question which is, “How are you?” While you are still smiling, you say good and you?
This is how the typical Monday morning goes. You put on your mask and life is all good again, but is it really?
Do your masks look anything like mine? Do you have a happy face that is well-worn and beginning to fall apart? Do you have the, as my husband says, the neither here nor there face? How about the grouchy face (which if I am being honest is rather worn out)? Do you have the worried face (which has been my go-to mask with all the sickness my family has been through) or how about the frustrated and the angry face? These are my masks I have to hang beside my keys which are ready to grab as soon as I get my keys to go out the door.
Which mask do you grab for the concealment of your everyday real emotions? As for me, I grab a happy face because I can not show others that everything is not ok. Only the people who are close to me know what my real face looks like. To everyone else, they only know the mask I wear.
I often think of the masks I wear every time I mow my lawn. It is important to me to keep my lawn mowed because if my yard is in order then it reflects a well-ordered life from the outsider’s perspective. What the average person driving past my house does not realize, is that if they came through my front door, they would quickly realize I am struggling to keep the chaos and disorder at bay. My house many days is a mess (as my husband often says, and so is everyone else’s, who cares, but he doesn’t understand that I care). I have dog hair (in clumps at the moment) all over the place. My bathroom is in dire need of cleaning. I struggle to keep up with the laundry and my floors need to be vacuumed and mopped. Overall, the house is in desperate need of some love, cleaning, and maintenance.
I know many are reading this thinking I thought we all struggled with this every day? For me personally, it is a struggle I wish I didn’t have. When I gave up my career years ago to come home to be a stay at home mom, I took my responsibility seriously and part of this responsibility was to keep our home and family happy, organized, and free of chaos.
Unfortunately, unhappiness, chaos, and disorder are how we seem to live now. Money is tight, so when something breaks, we can not usually afford to fix it (unless it is something that is serious, such as my car). I am sitting at the car repair shop just this morning, waiting for my car to be fixed as I write this.
Between all the doctor appointments, I am always on the road running between appointment after appointment. Then when we get home from them, it is back in the car to get Kiddo to work, then run errands and return home to decide which is more important, the housework or trying to start my craft and graphic design business to get it off the ground so we can make some extra money, that we are desperately in need of.
So with all of the personal revelation I have made and the rawness of my “real” life, now you know a little more about who I am, personally. The “superficial” me is about keeping up appearances. I grew up being taught we are to be responsible and keep our feelings to yourself. You do not allow anyone to know how bad life can be. You hide this because outsiders are to only see your “best” behavior. Now years later, I find myself struggling with the fallacy of how I was raised while keeping up with the appearance that says, I look responsible and organized. The problem with this is on the inside I struggle with who I am now. I struggle with what I consider to be important. I find I am struggling with trying to figure out who the “real” me is for all the masks I have worn for so many years.
How about you? Do you struggle with this same identity crises because of the years you have worn your masks? Have you finally broke free from the bondage of the masks or are you still hiding? How did you break free?
I think the time has come to remove the masks and let our true identity be visible and shine through. I am challenging you today to make a commitment with me to allow your “real” face to be seen by others.
Today is the day we unmask and set ourselves free from the bondage of false identities.
Remember Today… You are beautiful when you are being your “real” self. Allow that person to be seen by everyone now.
Tonight, I am writing from the perspective of a broken down and worn out heart of a mom who has to watch her child suffer in one of the most agonizing ways imaginable. She lives life as a Chronic Migraine Sufferer.
I needed to ponder my thoughts tonight in order to close them out and be done with them.
It has been a whirlwind of events for quite some time in our household. The number of doctor appointments we have been going to in my household has been crazy.
My husband has been down between sickness and a back injury since July which produced countless doctor appointments for him.
Then there is my daughter who has chronic migraines, chronic sinus issues (inflamed and often times infected), an immune deficiency, which has been identified in the past few weeks as getting worse, and out of control allergies. So she has a lot of doctor appointments on her own. But when you add my husband being sick and injured on top of her, this means life became chaotic.
This whirlwind of events got worse when Kiddo went into a migraine cycle which became worse as a result of Hurricane Florence. She has been in pain since way back then, but was able to push through it by living minute by minute and taking medicine to keep it from becoming a mega migraine which she is not able to fix at her level.
The struggle for her is daily, but something went wrong on Friday. She lost the battle and her migraine blew up in a two-hour window into a mega migraine. In the morning we went to her migraine specialist for his nurse to teach her how to self-inject the new migraine medicine known as Aimoveg. By the time we got home, her head just exploded in a massive pain and so we headed off to our local Urgent Care with the hopes they could make this pain better and bearable again.
Unfortunately, this experience did not go well. The doctor there was less than compassionate or understanding. This was not what she wanted to experience. She wanted him to simply help her to get the pain back under control (I did not make a mistake there, for her, she is used to pain, she knows her pain will not go away, but wanted it to become managed again). Her doctor, however, did not understand her situation. Instead, he made her/us feel like she was a druggy looking for a drug fix.
I am here to tell you, this momma was not a very happy one, and realized quickly that if my daughter was going to get any help I had to fight, yet but again, for her health care.
He did eventually agree to help her after denying her help three times (yes, this is not a misprint, he denied her help three times before agreeing to offer her an attempt at a treatment plan).
As it was, her treatment plan was a different one than what she normally receives, but we were not willing to advise him what works as that would only give him more of a reason to not believe her.
So with one Kiddo in mega massive pain, she gives up the fight and lays down on the exam table and the nurse comes in to place an IV in her arm to administer her the “concoction” as the doctor called it, with the hopes pain relief would be in sight.
My poor child lays there waiting for the pain medicine to work and the nurse comes back to check on her pain number. She went from a ten (because he does not believe pain can be worse than that), to a nine. I am still remaining hopeful this is going to work even though she has never had it before. So a little time passes and the nurse comes back and she is at a nine. Now I am getting a little concerned because some pain relief should be happening now. By now about 30 minutes have passed and the doctor comes in the exam room to check on her and asks if she has relief and she says no, her pain level is still at a nine.
Now I am getting really concerned and I am beginning to think we would be at the Emergency Room next. The nurse returns back after some time to change her IV bag and I expressed my concern to her and she agreed if we can not get the poor child some relief I would need to take her to the Emergency Room after leaving there.
Eventually, the doctor returns and asks if she has had this one particular medicine before and I said no, but that my husband has for his migraines. So he has the nurse give her the shot.
By now I am doing a whole lot of praying this will work and my child gets relief. After about ten minutes I ask her does she have any relief and she says that beautiful word, “yes”. She is now at an eight. I had never been so happy to hear that wonderful number as I was at that moment. This might actually be working finally.
After about five more minutes the nurse comes back and checks on her and she is down to a seven now. I was beginning to feel some relief now. Seven means we should be able to go home without needing to go to an Emergency Room next. By the time the doctor comes back, she is down to a six pain level. This made him happy and was ready to release her when she felt she was ready to leave.
We stayed maybe another half hour passed his we can go home time because we were not leaving until she knew she could to make the drive home.
I tell you this story because you needed to see why this was so stressful. My poor Kiddo suffered severely on Friday and to have a doctor not believe her was infuriating.
We did eventually leave and come home, but her pain level did not stay down. By the time 7:00 PM came around her pain level was spiking and that fear I had earlier began to return. By an hour later she was back up to an eight and it was only getting worse. How much worse could this become? I need to come up with a plan and it needs to be one that will work and work effectively.
I had to rely on my mom intuition which is really scary to do when you are not a doctor and this is over your head. Well, it all came together. I came up with a plan, one we have done in the past, so although it made me nervous for all the medicine she had consumed that day, we had to use it.
I told her my plan and she was okay with it. By the time I left her bedroom with the hopes and prayers her pain would come down and she would go to sleep, her pain level was back up to a ten.
I was so nervous. I slept with one ear always listening for her to make a noise or if she were to need me.
She said about 2:00AM she finally began to get pain relief again. My plan thankfully worked.
By the time she got up Saturday morning, she had her pain managed again. She also had two more doses of her migraine cycle breaker consumed. Thankfully with the help of her own migraine medicine, she was able to keep her pain managed as well as rested all day Saturday.
We were both relieved to be back at this level again and relieved to know we did not have to take her to the Emergency Room.
Today, as we get ready to close out the day and finish the weekend, I am beyond relieved to know she is pain-free, which she does not experience very often. It appears her migraine cycle breaker is working finally.
Now if she can keep her stress of being behind in her college classes under control and her professors will be compassionate and understanding, then she should be able to get a lot of work done and get caught back up again without carrying the stress of being behind on her shoulders.
As I tell this story, the feeling which is still raw all came rushing back. It has been an extremely stressful weekend, and I am hoping by writing about it, I will be able to release the pain and heartache and move past this traumatic event.
It is also my hope and prayer if you live a similar life that you know you are not alone. We know your pain and your fears. We know the frustrations and the concerns.
Life is hard, but to know you are not alone, makes it all a little more bearable.
If you have experienced a similar circumstance, feel free to leave a comment below and tell me about what happened to you.