#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.

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Stepsforward, Believe in Yourself, Bible, Challenge, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Faith, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Peace, Self-worth, Strength

You Are Never In Total Darkness

Do You Struggle With The Power of Darkness

I am feeling God has a few of His own who are in need of some encouragement today.

  • Are you struggling with finding your self worth and identity because somehow over the years and the busyness of life you have lost who you are? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you struggling in a difficult relationship? Do you struggle with a battle within you to know if you stay and fight for your marriage or is it time to walk away? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you fighting with health needs? Are you in pain all the time? Are you frustrated with fighting with the doctors or insurance companies to get them to listen to you, to hear you, and to help you? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you in a season of struggling with your child/ren to get them to listen to you. Do you feel like they are distancing themselves from you and your family? Are you frustrated and discouraged? My friend, do not walk away from this struggle. Keep pray, keep loving, and keep reaching out to them. They need you, even though they may not feel as though they do. Fight for your child! Remain their safe place. Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you a new parent who is fighting sleep deprivation and as a result feel the weight of darkness all around, but you do not tell anyone as this is suppose to be one of your happiest times in your life, as you hold the love of your life in your arms? Know, you are not alone.

My friend, God gave me this verse for you, who are in pain today.

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”” John 8:12 NKJV

No matter how dark life might seem, please know there is a light that is wrapped around you. This light is so you will never remain in total darkness. It is God’s light which surrounds you and has you consumed because one day you believed in Him.

Allow that light to shine on your darkness while you use it to light the way out of this dark time. Follow it until you find the peace and comfort you need to not feel alone.

My friend, reach out to those who are closest to you. Allow them to help you, pray for you, and encourage you.

If you feel they are not enough and you would rather reach out to someone who doesn’t know you, feel free to leave a comment below. I am here to lift you up in prayer.

My hope God uses today’s encouragement to touch your heart and to remind you, you are not alone.
Broken, Burn out, Challenge, Character, Encouragement Today, Journey, Joy, Life, Peace, Self-worth, Weariness

Be Brave and Journey On

Encouragement Today

Your daily encouragement today was inspired by this simple quote,

“Be Brave and Journey On”.

Is your day always the same, day in and day out, or is it consistently full of chaos?

Are you a busy mom running after little ones all day long, and you find yourself frazzled and worn out physically and mentally?

Are you a busy working mom or dad who works all day long then runs all night between your kids after school activities?

Are you a busy homeschool parent who is always preparing, teaching, grading, or running your kids between Co-ops, youth activities, and volunteering.

Are you a busy young person trying to work, go to college, and find time to study when there are a spare few minutes?

Are you busy trying to take care of a sick child, a sick spouse, a sick parent, or a sick friend?

Anyone who does this knows how exhausting and often times difficult this task is. Are you a busy person whose job is demanding from the time you get up to the time you basically go to bed?

My friend, no matter what your day looks like, it is your life and God will give you the strength to get through it gracefully.

Be Brave and Journey On!
Broken, Burn out, Challenge, Comfort, Courage, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Journey, Life, Self-worth, Strength, Weariness

Believe In Yourself

Encouragement Today

design-22

Do you struggle with the feeling of…

  • worthlessness
  • lack of self-confidence
  • not adequate
  • not strong enough
  • not brave enough
  • not a good mom
  • not a good dad
  • not a good daughter
  • not a good son
  • not a good employee/er

Does life just seem to haunt you at every turn? Does life just seem like it is falling apart no matter how much you try to make it right?

My friend, this is a deep and tough topic, but one I feel many of us, if we were to talk about it openly, would admit we feel from time to time, if not daily for some of us.

Life has become tough for many people, but how we see ourselves in those difficulties defines us, even if those thoughts are lies we tell ourselves.

Sweet friend, this year has been a year of great difficulty and one of great reflection on my end. I am exploring many aspects of my life and through this exploration, great sadness seems to resonate through it all. The difficulties are only marked by how I choose to handle them and what I tell myself through it all.

Do you struggle with self-evaluation, but what you see and what you tell yourself are often times two entirely different things? Are you your toughest critic?

My friend, today I am coming to you with a simple phrase that came to me as I was beginning my day. “BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!” 

Believe In Yourself by

  • Believing you are… bigger than any struggle or conflict you may be experiencing.
  • Believing you are… stronger than any obstacle you have in your way.
  • Believing you will…  come out at the end of this situation bigger, wiser, and powerful because you succeeded and made it to the end of what you are struggling through.
  • Believing you are… and will always be a child of God and He has not forsaken you no matter how dark life may be.
  • Believing you are… never alone no matter how lonely you may feel.
  • Believing you are… just as good as those people you look up to and admire.
  • Believing you are… BEAUTIFUL and ENOUGH!!!!!!!! 

My friend, it is all too easy to believe the lies we tell ourselves about how not worthy we are or how we are not smart enough, strong enough, courageous enough, brave enough, or loving enough, but remember this important truth… THEY ARE ALL LIES!!!!!!!!!!! You are not any of these. 

Fight back against the lies and when they creep into your thoughts, fight back against them and tell yourself the exact opposite, but more importantly, BELIEVE THEM! BELIEVE IN YOU AGAIN!!!!! 

Broken, Burn out, Challenge, Comfort, Depression, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Exhausted, Image, Journey, Life, Motivation, Peace, Self-worth, Strength, Weariness

Blossom Today

Encouragement Today

Today’s Encouragement is a simple one. It is inspired by this quote by Max de Pree,

“We can not become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Max de Pree

Are you tired in your life? Does it feel like your life has become calculated and routined? Are you feeling like you have no control over it any longer?

My friend, consider this is the time to move forward into a change in your life. Do not remain in a life where you are not happy any longer. Life is too short to not life a fulfilling life.

Think about things that make you happy. Think about goals you had but never achieved. Think about things you love.

Open your heart to what makes you smile and what brings you peace and happiness

You can do this! Look up! Stand tall and know you are enough to make the changes in your life that will make you happy.
Broken, Burn out, Comfort, Courage, Depression, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Exhausted, Journey, Life, Peace, Self-worth, Strength, Trials, Weakness, Weariness

The Beauty of One Piece of Pine Straw

Encouragement Today

img_8707Today’s inspiration came as a result of doing yard work. As I was raking up my pine straw to place it in my flower beds, God revealed to me how we, His people, are similar to that of the pine straw.

img_8701-3When you see only one piece, you think, how can that one piece of pine straw make a difference in a flower garden? One piece by itself can not, but when you rake it up into a pile then it becomes abundant and that abundance of pine straw is enough to make a difference.

We are a lot like this as humans. Many times as individuals we struggle to find our worth or importance to our family and to others. Many of us fail to see how we, as only one person can really make a difference, but we can.

God made each of us uniquely important. He made us for a reason and a purpose. Many of us are fortunate to see this purpose while others struggle to see it, but just because you may be struggling to see your purpose does not mean there isn’t one. God did not make a mistake, His plan is just as He intended whether we see it or we do not.

Many of us impact others through our jobs, through our ministries, through our schools, and throughout our everyday life. This is where we as a larger group we make a difference.

For those who do not have this as a purpose, you need to see that your life as an individual is equally important. Your life is intertwined in so many people’s lives that if something happened to you tomorrow, there would be people who would miss you and grieve for you. There would be a void in their hearts that would be hard to fill, whether you believe this or not.

img_8706This is why the analogy of the pine straw was important to me today. If it was not for the one strand that when put together with many others was not important then there would never be enough to use in a flower bed.

Each strand by itself may be seen as a nuisance, but is it really? I would venture to say no, because each piece I raked up today, no matter how messy it looked initially, made my flower bed look pretty and well maintained again.

Our lives are the same. If we just looked at the worth of our life as strictly a lonely individual, we are less likely to see our worth, but when we are pulled together as God intended for us to be, then we will be more likely to see our beauty for it’s intended purpose.

My friend, today I am here to inspire you to never give up. No matter how hard life may be, how difficult your circumstances may seem, how lonely you may feel, you are important. God has a special purpose for you and your circumstances.

It may not be visible at this moment in time, but if you just hang tight, keep taking one step forward at a time, God will reveal to you His plan and His purpose.

Then when He does, you will begin to see how beautiful your life is to others around you. God created you to be beautiful and in time you will begin to see that beauty.

Do not give up, do not lose hope. Your plan and purpose when revealed will be a beautiful as the one stand of pine straw is in my flower beds.
Broken, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Journey, Life, Self-worth, Strength, Weariness

Broken Reflections

Encouragement Today

1CB08B9F-1C40-4985-B66C-1A65C0029421Today’s Encouragement isn’t going to be what I normally post.

This one is written with the hopes to reach that person who knows the pain of darkness.

I have been struggling since Saturday in what to write because my posts feel so artificial to me. I write about what others should do to encourage them along their journey, but most of the time this isn’t something I follow through with on my end. I try, however it is easier to step out of my own body and write to you directly. God always gives me the words to encourage others which is how I write what I do every day. Unfortunately, I do not know how to do what I tell you to do. I only know what I say to you comes from God and it is my desire it makes your journey easier and hopefully a little more pleasant.

I have been looking in the mirror lately when I get up and brush my teeth and the reflection I see looking back at me appears as a total stranger. I look at all the flaws I see in my face and it makes me cringe so badly that I find it easier to look away. Do you ever do this?

As I was trying to pull my thoughts together for what I would write today, I looked in the mirror and saw this total stranger again. I saw ever red mark on my face that I can’t hide no matter how hard I try. I see tired and weary blue eyes that look totally worn out. I see the gray hair trying to sneak a peek back in amongst the brown hair I have, but I don’t have the money or the time to do anything about it right now.  I see every extra roll I didn’t use to carry but am too tired to care about the exercising or the diet that it will take to remove it. I just don’t have time for that right now.

So what gives? Do I continue to pretend the reflection looking back is or isn’t me? Am I truly a wife, mother, daughter, and friend because I fail at each and every one of them? I have mastered letting every one of them down. I struggle to stay in contact with my mom who lives 16 hours away because I can’t live up to her expectations of moving back home to help her. I am a terrible wife because I am grouchy, irritable, unloving, and angry all the time (more like overworked and underappreciated). As far as a mother, this is the closest I try to come to getting this right, but there is always that critic with the “answer” (I haven’t thought of or tried that will heal my daughter of her chronic pain and illnesses). They always know what is best, but what I really need is their support and encouragement that we will get through this and my Kiddo will redeem her life from all of this at some point. Instead, I just smile and say thank you, but we have tried that and it doesn’t work. I appreciate your suggestion though (as that is the polite thing to say and do). As for being a friend, I try. I try to be supportive, understanding, loving, and loyal, but as with most of my life, that isn’t enough. I am not sure what I do wrong, but somehow I am a master at pushing them away as well.

So instead of looking in the mirror and seeing someone I am proud of and I am happy to be, I cringe and look away. Now, I know God tells me this is wrong thinking and that this isn’t who He created me to be, but somehow the lies are so much easier to believe than the truth is to face.

Please know this post was not written to have a pity party. It was written to be brutally honest with my raw emotions with the hopes it encourages others who may struggle in this same area. I know the pain, loneliness, and darkness this life can hold, so please know this encouragement is designed for you and know you are not alone.

Hold your head up high and do not believe the lies your reflection might be telling you. They are the lies the enemy wants us to believe. What God wants us to believe is that we are, “…fearfully and wonderfully made.” God does not make mistakes.

Encouragement Today, Humility, Journey, Life, Motivation Monday, Self-worth, Strength

Find Yourself Through Humility and Confidence

Encouragement Today and Motivation Monday

HumilityToday’s Encouragement is a reminder of the importance of having humility and confidence within yourself.

All too many times we get so busy pleasing others, helping others, supporting others, and even enabling others that we forget who we are and get lost in the busyness of life.

If I was to ask you what is your favorite ________________ you name the item, can you tell me what it is?

Do you remember what your favorite show, movie, song, book, or activity is? When was the last time you did it? When was the last time you enjoyed it?

I believe it is all to easy to lose track of what is important to us and in the process of forgetting this, we lose confidence in our own identity.

I believe we become so programmed to go about our day in the such a routined manner  that we just go through the motions without giving any thought to what we “really” want to do. We forget what is important to us. We forget what we like and what we enjoy doing? Not because we knowingly or willingly do it, but because it just happens.

My friend, it is vitally important that you make a conscious effort to insure this doesn’t happen. It is important to remain humble but confident in order to remain strong and happy within yourself.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” —Norman Vincent Peale (success.com)

When you establish this balance you will regain peace, strength, confidence, and happiness within your life again. 

If you are finding yourself less than happy and insecure in decisions you are making and indecisive in choosing activities, check your confidence level in who you are.

My friend, it is critically important to not forget you are just as important as other people are in your life.

You have to be sure to fill your cup daily in order to remove anything from it to give to others.  Take care of yourself so you are able to continue to take care of others.

Do not give away so much of you that you do not even know who you are any longer. This is not beneficial to anyone you love or are helping and it is really not helpful to you.

Take time daily to insure you are taking care of yourself or you will not be able to help others.

 

Challenge, Character, Christmas, Comfort, Courage, Discouraged, encouragement, Journey, Life, Motivation, Self-worth, Strength

The Power of Your Lenses

img_7266-1Are Your Lenses Rose Colored or Black And White

Motivation Monday

December 11, 2017

Do you ever have days where your mood reflects the weather outside?

Today was cold and rainy and I have been struggled with the same emotional feelings.

When everything in life just seems to be a struggle it is hard to be upbeat and chipper all the time.

During times like these I find it easier to hide behind the power of my words. I can make them anything I want them to be and I have the control over who knows and sees what I am feeling, whether they are real or fictitious. I’m not saying this is right, but I am saying this is real.

I think many of us do this in our social media lives. It is easier to hide behind a picture on Instagram or a picture with someone else’s words via Face Book, but if you were truly honest with yourself, what would your life honestly look like? Would it be a life seen through power of rose-colored lenses or would it be seen through the honesty of black and white lenses?

In my attempt to process my own life and to get acquainted with who I honestly am, I have to admit my life has been seen through black and white lenses over the past ten years.

I have learned to spend years hiding from the “real me” because of circumstances beyond my control.

How about you? Have you spent years running away from yourself or have you stayed true to who yourself?

My friends, as we are getting ready to close out this year while preparing to begin a new one, take the time to reevaluate how you feel about yourself. Are you where you want to be at this time in your life or are you like me and have been hiding from your true self to the degree of forgetting who are?

If you are ready to do some soul-searching it is important to reevaluate your past in order to understand where you are going with your future.

No matter how easy or hard your past life has been, it shaped the character you are and contributed to who you have become today.

In order to move forward with your life, you need to not only address your past but you need to accept it. By accepting it, you will gain an understanding and with acceptance and understanding you will allow your future to be shaped according to all of these experiences.

Everyone’s journey is different and unique to “only” them. There is no right or wrong. God’s plan for everyone is beautifully and wonderfully made, even if we do not agree.

Take control of your circumstances, all of them. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The past and the present and allow them to mold you into your good, better, and best life in the year to come.

Lastly, try with all your strength to embrace your journey. God has an amazing plan for your future and all your experiences along the way will not be wasted, no matter how hard they have been.

Seek God’s guidance and allow Him to mold you into the masterpiece He has designed for you to be.