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.
I’m not sure about you, but I for one, am thankful for the weekend to finally arrive.
While we still have no resolution to if my daughter will have her health insurance come Monday morning, (see my post, “Living My Real” if you are unsure what I am referring to), I have to accept I have no control over the outcome over this stressful situation.
We have done everything we needed to do. We faxed the paperwork to them, not just once, but twice. We faxed their information Wednesday night and again Friday morning.
Now we have to “just” sit and wait and pray when we check her insurance Monday morning we will see nothing has changed. We will see she is still covered like she has been her whole life.
After being consumed by all of this, I had a realization yesterday while I was in my back yard. God revealed to me, no matter how difficult life may be, His beauty is still around us.
He revealed to me, as I was pruning my roses, that no matter how beautiful life may be, there will always be the thorns in our lives. The thorns keep us alert, but they aren’t meant to consume us.The beauty of the bountiful roses is what we are meant to see.
Many times the beauty is hard to see, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Are you too, going through a difficult time? Have you forgot what it was like to just “breathe” because your circumstances are all consuming?
Today I have a challenge for both of us. I want you to breathe and open your eyes up to the beauty that surrounds you.
I know so many are experiencing a quarantined life, but I want you to go outside and do something that brings you peace.
Is this the sound of the ocean water and seagulls in the background or the quietness of a hike in the woods?
Is it a quiet walk or a relaxing bike ride?
It doesn’t matter what you do, but I would suggest just going outside, breathe in the fresh air, and just open your heart to God will do wonders to restore your heart and your soul.
Share with Him your need to release this stress and allow Him to replace that stress with a peace that only He can give.
My friend, take some time this weekend to Rest, Breathe, and Repeat.
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.
As I sit back and reflect on Hurricane Florence, I am happy to announce our region narrowly escaped this catastrophic storm. It breaks my heart that many millions of people did not. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to them.
As I reflect back on our experience with this storm I want to share how these storms emotionally affect our pets and how you can prepare them as well.
Many times we get focused on preparing for the storm, myself included, that we do not take the time to see how this is affecting them. They do not understand what is going on, but they know in their animal world that something is not normal.
My cat and dog stopped eating a week ago, but I did not know why. They did finally eat again for the first time last night. The day before the storm was expected to arrive was unsettling. When I would take Shadow outside to go to the bathroom, he would look up to the sky, put his ears back, and look at me with concern in his eyes. He did this several times and it was unexpected to see at the time, but I suspected he understood something was going on. When I told him it was time to go inside, he ran off, grabbed his favorite ball to bring it in the house because he knew he was not leaving it outside.
The night the storm was to come in I was woken by our cat who was desperately crying, but I did not know why. I got up to check on him to be sure he was safe but found nothing was wrong. When I went back to bed he jumped onto the bed and snuggled with me, which he used to do before we adopted Shadow 2 years ago. Shadow sleeps in our room which disturbs Grady, until the other night. I am convinced he knew something was wrong, but may not have known what it was. In the end, he reached out to me for comfort.
It was not until last night when I realized they both were experiencing stress-induced diarrhea which was triggered by the storm. It breaks my heart as I now put various signs together to see how this storm affected them both.
I feel bad for Shadow because I was able to get him anxiety medication for if we were to evacuate, but never thought about how staying home would have affected him. Now I see all the signs as a whole and I wish I had given him this medicine to keep his anxiety under control even though we stayed at home.
To the people who find themselves in weather-related events or crisis, do not forget to add your pets into your planning phase. If you are able to reach out to your Veterinarian, ask them for medication to help with weather-induced anxiety.
If you do not have an accommodating veterinarian, go to your local pet store and invest in anxiety relief for your animals. They will need them, especially if your pets are smart or they are emotionally close to you. They feel those emotions and these conditions will contribute to their stress factors as the storm approaches.
My last advice to assist your pets through a storm is to “never” leave them behind. They look to you for help, protection, and love. They are scared and confused even if you do not see it or they do not display it. My very intelligent German Shepherd showed physical signs in the storm which I did not see as did my smart cat. We do not see their signs of distress for our own fear and concern (which they sense as well).
My friend, if you are ever faced with a voluntary or mandatory evacuation, be sure to include your pets in your plan. Pack a bag and include the following…
Their favorite toy/s to allow them security while they are dislocated
If they have a favorite chew bone, include that (the objective is the make them feel safe)
Dog boots (I know this sounds silly, but it will protect them from getting something lodged in their foot and you not know it if they did not respond immediately to it. With the boot, you can check their feet to see if anything penetrated the boot. We decided to purchase these to protect our dog’s recent foot surgery incision from being infected by dirty contaminated water and possible debris.
Pet crates to keep them safe and allow them to sleep in a safe environment. Be sure to pack a towel or blanket from home to line it with so they have that as a form of comfort.
Note paper that includes your pet’s name/s (include their description if you have multiple pets), their age, if they are on medication, what are they on and when do they take it. Add your name with a phone number and address so if you get separated or you lose this bag and someone finds it, they know to be looking for your pet/s.
When you are evacuating be sure to call in advance of where you are going to be sure your family, friends, hotel, or shelter will accept pets. As I discovered during this storm, this is still a problem when being forced to evacuate with your animals. We discovered contrary to information put out, hotels still DO NOT have to allow pets.
Write your pet’s name, your name, and your phone number on your pet with a permanent marker. They may be chipped, but if the power goes out and the Internet is down, then pet shelters will not be able to read their chip information. This will assist in reuniting your pet back with you if they were to get away.
Lastly, I beg you to NEVER evacuate and leave your pets behind. If you are leaving your home because it is no longer safe for you, it is not safe for them. They are dependent on you to keep them safe, DO NOT FORGET THEM DURING A CRISIS.
Disclaimer, I was not solicited by Pet Smart to promote their product, but this is a local pet store we use in our area. You can shop Tractor Supply, Amazon, Petco, or any pet store you have access to for these supplies.