#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Challenge, Courage, encouragement, Goals, Grace, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Peace, Real, Strength

Functionality Reigns in The Chaos

Do you have a to do list that is so long you do not know where to begin?

If you do then you are not alone.

I have taken this week, that we didn’t have any doctor appointments, to find order in my chaos and peace in my frustrations.

I found by making my home functional that this brought me peace this week.

I came to a realization in my attempt to find “me” that the biggest waster of my time is chaos.

I found if I can reign in the chaos monster and better use my time on stuff that matters and is important, then I am in better control over my stress.

And let’s face it… (nothing against dads here at all as we all love our husbands (most days), but when mom is stressed, the whole house is usually.)

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to find where our source of stress is and we need to learn how to tame it better.

So in my new found revelation this week, you will begin to see me post more practical every day tips to help us be better stewards of our time while encouraging and motivating each other along the way.

Are you game for this inspiration?

If so, feel free to leave a comment or a symbol below in the comments and together we will learn to tame the chaos in our lives, one step, one chore, and one day at a time.

#Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Encouragement Today, Gratitude, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Kindness, Life, Rawness, Real, Self-worth, Strength, Thankfulness

The Power of Love, One Stitch at A Time

You Are Touching Lives

My friend, do you ever feel like you are alone, just walking through life in the shadows of those around you?

Do you look at people and find yourself envious because they have friends and relationships and you do not?

Do you struggle believing you do not have them because you are not friendly enough or outgoing enough? You are not happy enough or have enough “things” to offer? You do not have enough money (as if that buys friendships and relationships)? You believe you are not loving, gentle, kind, humble, or empathetic enough?

My friend, I am here to remind you today those are lies the enemy tells you. I have felt them, all of them. Who am I kidding? If I am going to write a blog about being honest and sharing the real and raw feelings of life, then I need to admit I still feel this way. I am like you; I listen to the lies the enemy tells me. I listen to when he tells me…


I am a nobody.
• I am ugly.
• I am fat (ok… that might be an over exaggeration… more like squishy as my daughter told me when she was a tiny tot.)
• I am a failure.
• I am inadequate.
• I am lazy (because I don’t work outside of our home).
• I am worthless.
• I am “just a mom” (as if this is a bad thing, which I know in my heart it is not).

Oh, my friend, that word “just” has way too much power. No one is “just” at anything. No matter what you do or who you are, never let that word “just” define you. You ARE the BEST of what you do or who you are.

You ARE THE BEST…
• Husband
• Wife
• Dad
• Mom
• Doctor
• Nurse
• Lawyer
• Writer
• Police Officer
• Teacher
• Waitress
• Landscaper
• Janitor

This list is endless. The point I am trying to make is that no matter who you are or what you do, you are important! Your life matters and you matter to others even if you do not know it.

The enemy does not want you to see your value or your worth. He wants to keep you in a state of being unbalanced because this keeps you weak and dependent upon him instead of allowing you the time to focus on your Heavenly Father, who created you perfectly.

God wants me to show you that you are valuable and important. He wants you to see that you do matter to others (even when you do not feel it or see it).

My friend, I am writing today to show how much I struggle with the same struggles you do. I feel the same loneliness and the same inadequacies as you, but God has been working on my heart over the past few months. He keeps showing me the darkness I have lived for almost ten years is not the darkness I have to stay in.

I want to remind you today, both you and I are important to others even if we do not know it. Every person you encounter leaves a mark on their heart. Some people you may invest in a relationship with and some people you may never see again, but with every action, deed, or act of kindness you share, it leaves a seed planted on the heart of every person you met.

I have a sweet friend who became a friend because she was initially the stranger who lived next door. She was a stranger who I would see coming and going from our homes and one day those coming and goings forged a friendship that went beyond the simple gesture of a wave or head nod and greeting of the day.

Over time our friendship grew, and our simple respectful gestures became more about how to help each other. Her sweet husband would help me edge my yard so it would look beautiful from week to week. They helped me clean up my back yard from a hurricane, which I left for because my husband was deployed to Iraq and my daughter was only five years old. When I left it was a destructive category five hurricane with a direct impact for where we lived. I had to keep my daughter and pets safe, so we went inland and stayed with another sweet friend until the storm passed.

One of my hardest deployment stories that sealed our friendship was the day I sat in my driveway with my car loaded with everything of possible value (both physical and sentimental) and I looked at my house with tears falling down my cheeks believing I would never see it ever again. I was leaving everything we had worked hard for behind to be destroyed by a strong category five hurricane and when I came home again, I would have to dig through the pieces of our life to find what was left.

So, as I sat in my driveway I prayed over our home. I prayed for God to protect it. I prayed for God to keep the roof on it to protect the contents inside. I prayed for God to spare every shingle on the roof and the siding on every wall to include even the shutters on my windows. God tells us to ask for even the smallest of details, so I took him literal. I did just this.

After I felt I had done all I could do and prayed all I could pray, I drove out of my driveway to leave our world behind in order to protect our lives. I even left my neighbors, who were not evacuating, behind and even prayed for their safety as well.

It was with a tear-soaked face and a heavy heart that we drove out of our neighborhood and headed inland to a safer place with a dear friend whose husband was also deployed with mine in Iraq.

The storm came and left and God weakened the storm to a strong category one and a weak category two by the time it arrived. My house stood firm and whole. God honored my prayer and kept my home safe. Not one shingle, not one piece of siding, not one gutter, nor one shutter was torn from my house. It remained strong and firm, just as I had left it.

However, my backyard, which I forgot to pray about, was a different story. My backyard was a war zone. The backyard where my daughter played all the time was something that could not be recognized. I lost trees and crazy amounts of tree limbs and pine straw was thrown over every inch.

I tell you this story because it was a simple gesture of love and kindness that sealed my friendship with my sweet neighbor next door. They had the same mess in their yard as I did, but they tirelessly worked to clean up my yard so when I came home my daughter would not be traumatized by her back yard and that she would feel safe to play back there in the future.

They shared pictures with me while I was gone and knew there was no way I could come home to that destruction. They worked tirelessly for a couple of days to get my yard to something I could manage when I came home. They cut up the trees and took the pieces to the curb for me. They bagged and bagged up debris to get it out of my yard and put it all to the curb so when I came home, the hardest part of what I would have to do was done.


My friends, their random act of kindness to help “me”, just little ole’ me, their neighbor next door who we liked and became friends with, went above and beyond what I would have ever dreamed they would do for me.

Tell me your life doesn’t matter. Tell me you do not make a difference. Tell me your life does not impact others. I will tell you no… it does matter. You do make a difference. You are touching the lives of others.

You may not always see it, but in time God will reveal to you the lives you will touch.

I am writing today to share just when you think you are not making the difference in people, you are. You are touching the lives of everyone around you.

I have had a couple instances in the past couple of weeks now where God revealed to me that I am touching lives and I never knew it.

I shared a picture above of a beautiful handmade quilt and matching bag that was made especially for me by the sweet friend whom I spoke about who cleaned my yard from the hurricane. She is no longer my neighbor next door because they moved away, but our friendship has not diminish.

I did not expect to receive this beautiful quilt and bag and even part of me said, “why me?” What did I do to deserve this special gift for absolutely no reason? Why would someone pour their heart and soul into making such a beautiful gift for me?

My friend, this beautiful gesture was done because of a life I touched over the years even though I never knew it. Just because you do not see the lives you are touching does not mean they are not being touched. Be yourself. Do not try to be someone you are not, but more importantly, do not believe the negative lies the enemy tells you. Turn your eyes upward and allow God to show you what to do and what to believe. That is where your truth will lay.

Today, I will close by encouraging you to reach out to someone and share a random act of kindness with them. It will touch their lives and their heart forever.

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Bible, Challenge, Courage, encouragement, Encouragement Today, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Self-worth, Strength

You Are Brave, Capable, and Loved

Encouragement Today

I have a simple reminder for you today in case you forgot…

“You are stronger than you know. More capable than you ever dreamed. And you are loved more than you could possibly imagine.” Unknown Author

Do you doubt yourself from time to time?

My friend, believe today that you are brave, capable, and loved.

Do not believe the self doubt words you tell yourself.

They are lies.

Order yours today @HL&E Designs… Price $30.00 (s/h included). To order your today,… See disclaimer below.

God made you perfect in every way.

He made you to be brave and courageous. He made you to be Bold and beautiful!

You are His handiwork.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My friend, today is the day to believe in “you” and fight back against the lies you tell yourself.

Lastly, remember you are Brave, Capable, and Loved!

Disclaimer:

HL&E Designs is my business.

T-Shirt Price: $30.00 (s/h included). We accept PayPal.

If you would like to order the above t-shirt leave a comment below with your name, email, address, and shirt size.

I will send you an invoice, once you confirm your information as well as your order, you will render your payment via PayPal at that time. Upon receiving your money, I will process your order.

Your information will remain private as I will not post your order comment.

#Keepingitreal, Friendship, Image, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Thankfulness

Unconditional Love Is Priceless

I struggle to share my private life and I know this post is going to seem a bit weird to some who do not understand the depth in which you can love your pets, but this dog is my world.

This is my doggo, Shadow (the one with floppy ears). If you follow me on Instagram then you know how much he means to me, but to those who do not, you will quickly learn, he is my life.

We adopted this gentle guy when he was only seven months old because our sweet family friend was unexpectedly transferred to a new duty station and had been informed by the U.S. Navy that she could only take one of her sweet babies with her.

She had to make an extremely difficult decision and had to find this precious baby boy a new home. We already knew the boys because they lived across the street and so she asked my family if we would consider adopting this baby boy and give him a good home for her. She entrusted us with her most precious baby whom we agreed to adopt.

I made her a promise when we agreed to adopt Shadow that we would take the best care of him as we knew how. It didn’t take him any time to melt the hearts of our family and become one of us. As a result of his adoption, it enabled his Mommy Sarah and brother, Baby Bear, to remain in his life.

This was a win win situation. His mommy Sarah has the pleasure of seeing him as often as she comes to town while we share pictures and videos with her often. This allows her the unique opportunity to remain in his life.

Friends, if you have a special dog in your life then you will understand this statement,

Shadow is my sunshine on cloudy day.

We originally thought we would train him to be a service dog for my husband who struggles with the effects of PTSD, but it did not take long to see Shadow had a different plan.

Shadow quickly became “my” side kick. He goes on walks with me. He waits on me at every chance he gets. If I go out of sight, I know he is always there and exited to see me come back. He even loves to go for car rides every chance he gets.

He loves the rest of the family, but him and I have a unique relationship. He is truly my life (outside of my human family and friends).

“Shadow Puppy” is the bestest buddy any human could have or wish for. He has truly changed my life. He filled a void I did not realize I had.

If you have a dog in your life who has done this for you, then you understand what I mean when I say,

I truly love my dog!

He is the bestest doggo friend I could have ever wish for.

He is my life in dog form.

My friend, if you have a special pet in your life, give them an extra hug as well as an extra treat today. They earned it through their unconditional for you.

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Bravery, Character, Courage, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life

Do Not Focus On The Steps Behind You

Life Changes, The New Journey Ahead

This week has been an emotional week as we said a temporary good bye of 2 (possibly 3) years to our sweet friend, who is like family to us.

I decided to use her time away to set some long overdue goals for myself to not necessarily rediscover myself and the person I left behind years ago, but to discover who I am today.

I have spent the past six months trying to figure out what would change look like to me and to figure out who I use to be, but instead of going back, I have discovered that isn’t the journey. The journey instead, is what is ahead of me.

I have come to realize my journey ahead is not about redeeming what I lost, but is more about using my past to mold me into who God wants me to be today.

So, it was with great sadness that I said good bye while I watched our sweet friend board that plane the other night, but it is with great hope that I look forward to who I will be when she returns to American soil and home again.

#stepsforward

#findingcourage

#Findingyourcourage, Challenge, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Weariness

Making Life Changes

Credits: Home. Life. Encouragement

One Step At A Time

All too often we find ourselves in the midst of difficult situations. It may even feel like life is falling apart at every seam.

How many of you find it easier to fall into unhealthy behavior patterns where you make excuses and play the blame game rather than take ownership for your part of the problem?

Today’s reminder is a simple one.

“Instead of making excuses, create solutions.” HD Benson

My friend, every time you find yourself making an excuse for a situation, you are robbing yourself of the power to make the changes to better your situation.

If you have found yourself drowning in a sea of problems, all of which have excuses that make them out of your power or control to change, I want you to consider these following thoughts…

  • Does your negative situation really affect your life or can you walk away from it and forget about it?
  • Are you able to change your situation to make it more bearable?
  • Can you do “anything” besides complaining and making excuses for it to help your situation?
  • Lastly, think about all of your problems and how can you think of something positive to create a solution thus changing this from a problem to a blessing?

Today’s challenge is to evaluate your difficulties which you have been making excuses for and create a solution to at least one of them to change it from a negative to a positive situation. I have a suggestion to help you with this.

When you find yourself overwhelmed by the burdens of the world, start by making one change at a time. The key to change is not about sprinting a marathon, but to pace yourself for the long run. As long as you keep moving forward, you are getting closer to the goal.

This is what you are going to do today. One creative solution at a time will keep you moving forward to changing your heart from seeing and feeling everything around you as a negative situation and you will begin to see more positive and encouraging ones instead.

My Friend, instead of making excuses I would like you to consider changing your mindset to create a solution. Today, you are going to empower yourself with the ability to become creative and create a solution to replace a negative situation with a positive one.

#Keepingitreal, Bible, Chronic Migraines, Exhausted, Grace, Inspiration, Journal Journey, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Medical Journey, Migraine, pain, Rawness, Real, Weariness

No Matter The Pain, You Are Beautifully Made

Journaling Journey

Do you continue to worry over your kids? As parents, I am unsure how you do not. It seems to be bred into us as soon as they are born.

Today has been one of those days where I struggled with worrying over my Kiddo. It does not matter how old they become, when they are sick we worry over them. When they are hurt, we worry over them. When they are fearful, we worry over them. It does not matter what the circumstances are, their lives will always be intertwined in ours.

My daughter woke up with her head hurting badly. She had a migraine brewing, but what her migraine didn’t know was that she didn’t have the time for it today.

She is desperately trying to cram the final week and half of work from her classes in it in order to complete the semester in college.

I was worried for her because I could tell in her face and in her eyes how bad this one was. I prayed over her head as well as sought prayer from some faithful prayer warriors that this bad migraine did not turn into a mega migraine while she was at work.

I am so happy to announce the prayers worked. She still has her migraine, but it did not get any worse and for this, we are thankful.

Now as I write, we are patiently waiting for her weekly IgG infusion to finish. Every Friday night she has to do this two hour regiment. We should be getting use to it, but I have a confession to make. It isn’t any easier. By the time she gets home from work, pre-medicates and finishes from start to finish it takes two hours which if you do not get it started until later then you are pushing 11 pm to 1am before it is finished. We know this from several weeks of experience.

This my friend, this is rough for this tired mom, but I refuse to go to bed while she infuses as it is not in me to abandon her on this weekly treatment. So no matter how late it becomes, Shadow and I will stay up with her because we are in this journey with her.

Tonight she decided was good night for me to learn how to actually set up the entire process minus inserting the four needles into her legs, just in case something went wrong or she was sick and I would need to know how to do this for her. I agreed it was a good idea, but I just really did not want to learn how tonight, I know, pretty selfish of me, but I did give in to learn how anyway.

Now the worrying side of being a mom is praying her side effects will be minimum so she can get a ton of studying done tomorrow. We really need for her body to cooperate and not crash on her yet.

Do any of your struggle with a similar battle where you worry over your kids and just want what is best for them, but can not do anything beyond pray over them? Even though this is the best thing we can do for our kids, somehow, if we are honest with ourselves, it does not seem like it is enough.

I wish my daughter could live a “normal” healthy life like those of her peers, but God has a different purpose for her. We are unsure what that looks like, but with all the physical struggling she does, the grace in which she does it is a testament to the strength she has to endure all she endures.

My friend, if you or a loved one is in a similar situation, please leave a comment below and I will be praying for you to get through as gracefully as my daughter does. You have an understanding friend here so you know you are no longer alone during this journey.

I hope everyone has a good night and that you get the rest your mind and body needs. If you feel inclined to join me in praying for my daughter, this would be wonderful and appreciated.

Lastly, if you are struggling to see your beauty for all the pain and sickness you experience,

“I want to remind you God fearfully and wonderfully made you.” Ps 139:14 (NIV).

Please remember, In His eyes you are perfect despite how badly you may feel.

#Keepingitreal, Discouraged, encouragement, Inspiration, Journey, Joy, Keeping It Real, Weariness

Purposely Seeking Joy and Renewal

Seeking My Joy Today

My joy today has been seeing the beauty of the new spring growth popping up every where. Every day there are more leaves on the trees, more blossoms on the bushes and beautiful flowers showing up in the flower beds.

This new growth reminds me that no matter how dead life may look, there is always a season that flourishes and grows again. Trees that once looked dead are beautifully green again. Bushes that had no life are blossomed out in the most brilliant colors imaginable. Flower beds that were lifeless are growing again.

I love this season because it has a visible way of reminding us that no matter how dead our life may seem, it does not mean it will be like this forever.

Only can God bring back to life what has gone dormant and what appears to be dead. Like wise, He does the same for us.

Have you found yourself struggling in a personal season where everything around you seems dead? Relationships are hard at best. Hardships seem to be piling up all around you. You cry out to God, but you hear nothing in return?

My friend, this is your season of winter, but I am here to remind you today that this season, all be it hard right now, will not last forever. The season of spring is right around the corner.

I know some of you may be saying, but you don’t understand. It has been like this for so long. My friend, I’m here to encourage you, that I do understand and I’m here to encourage you that just as the snow falls in the winter, it melts and goes away. Just as the trees look lifeless and dead, they will sprout new leaves and be beautiful again. So will this happen in your life.

The season of spring and the beauty it produces is here to remind us that this dead season of winter will not last forever and the there is joy in the renewal and growth. Just as the flowers will bloom again, so will the beautiful things in your life.

It is my prayer for you today that you will have the hope to see that your difficult season in life will begin fade away and will begin to flourish and grow again soon.

My Friend, be encouraged by this reminder God shares with us;

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

Be encouraged today friends and know my joy can be yours as well.

Open your eyes and open your heart to see the freshness that spring brings forth.

#keepingitreal

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Courage, Exhausted, Journal Journey, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Rawness, Real

Acceptance is Half the Battle

Journaling Journey

As I am beginning my day, which has not been an easy one to start, I am feeling a bit better than yesterday, in that I did manage to get caught up on a few things around my home that were weighing heavy on me.

As a result, I am not carrying those burdens today, but I am, however, carrying a huge burden for my business and wrapping up unfinished projects.

Yesterday, I did manage to prepare a few boards for signs, which makes me very happy. I re-stained one this morning so I will be able to finish it this weekend, thankfully.

I do, however, have a couple of projects that have me overwhelmed in finishing, so I am hoping today I can come out from under the weight of them.

My daughter and I are attending a local womens inspirational conference tonight and tomorrow and I have to confess, I am a little apprehensive about it. I am sure it will be great opportunity and hopefully inspiring, but I do not do well with things that are on Friday nights, as this is the night I am exhausted from the events of the week.

Our dear friend who is attending thought it would be a great opportunity for me to build my blog into something amazing and for us to grow our business as well. She also thought we would be blessed by the amazing women speakers who will be speaking too.

I hope she is right, as right now I can only see and feel my total exhaustion.

As a result of this convention tonight my daughter had to decide what she would do about her weekly IgG Infusion. We decided due to the late hour we should come home tonight at that tomorrow night might work better since it takes about 2 1/2 hours from preparation to completion to finish. This is the first time a Friday night activity has presented itself a problem with her weekly infusions. I am sure it is the first of many to come. As I stated yesterday, this is what it is like to live with a chronically ill person. You have to constantly work around appointments, treatments, and sicknesses, but it is not her fault and we do what we need to do to work with it.

Acceptance is half the battle of working around it.

@homelife&encouragement

Finding my Courage today will be to fight through the frustration of finishing these projects in order to walk away with a feeling of satisfaction knowing they are done and my customers will be happy.

Do you ever feel like this?

My Friend, what does Finding Your Courage look like to you?

Leave a comment below if you wish to share your day, frustration, or courage.

#keepingitreal, #Findingyourcourage

Chronic Migraines, Courage, encouragement, Hope, Inspiration, Journal Journey, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Medical Journey, pain, Parenting, Rawness, Real, Rest, Strength

The Battle of Courage

Journaling Journey

It is Friday night again and we are sitting here together as Kiddo does another week of IgG Infusions.

This is not the best way for her to spend her Friday night, as most college students her age are out having fun, but doing it tonight is proving to be so much better for her.

By doing this on Friday night she is able to go to bed and sleep off the side effects that she was was trying to work (literally through) before she changed to Friday night. She is also able to rest her body tomorrow as she struggles through the remaining side effects.

She is amazingly strong and courageous. Every time she does this, she amazes me at the strength she has to sit there and inject 4 separate needles into her legs and then sit there for an hour or more while she waits for the infusion to finish.

For all she battles with her body on a daily basis, it breaks my heart to watch her, but I also find a sense of pride to call her my daughter because I know she has dig deep down inside to do something that the rest of us take for granted every day.

Her road ahead looks a bit dark as we struggle to figure out what it is going to take to give her her life back, but thankfully after four long hard years of struggling already and battling for the fights we have won and battling the fights we have lost, we are closer now to finding this solution than she has ever been in the years back.

It is my prayer that the journey she is on with the new medicines and treatments that there will be an end to this battle she battles within her body.

I was going to get ready to close until she just read me this amazingly fitting bible verse which I will share with you as well,

God is with her, she will not fall. Ps 46:5

God, you are amazing with your timing.

I was not going to write tonight as I often feel like what I write is not important and would not affect anyone else, but with closing with this verse and knowing Kiddo has no idea what I am doing, I know I was meant to write this tonight.

If you are battling a battle that is one you never dreamt you would battle, know you are not alone.

God has your back just as He has my daughter’s. He is with you, My Friend!

Find peace and comfort in this tonight.

Now I am going to close as I am sure Kiddos infusion should be close to being finished.

My friend, rest tonight. Allow God to take the burdens of the week away from you and sleep in the protection of His arms tonight.