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Focus on Growth

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Encouragement Today

Is your life one you are thankful for?

Is it everything you hoped for and are blessed to have or is it one you didn’t foresee having? 

Consider this thought today, 

“Your life is whatever you focus on.” 

Shadonna Richards

As I observe my surroundings and watch the people around me, I see a lot of pain. 

I see people struggling with relationships, work, finances, health, and children. 

I know even for myself, pain has had a huge impact in my life. 

I know the pain of strained relationships and that of finances not being enough. I am reminded daily of the pain of watching my daughter fight a battle within her own body and the destruction it is trying to have on her. 

However, today I want to encourage you that life does not have to be the focus on all you struggle with.

We have the power to change our focus. We have the power to retrain our thoughts to where we focus on more positive things instead of the negative ones. 

This strength is coming from our God, who knows every single detail of every struggle and battle we are facing. 

Ask Him today to help you retrain your thoughts and your focus.

Ask Him today to strengthen your heart and to refocus your thoughts to where, instead of focusing on all the things that are difficult, to instead, focus on the blessings.

My Friend, my challenge to you is to retrain your focus and look at areas in your life where you are happy and find contentment instead of focusing on things that bring you heartache. 

Once you fall deep in a pit of despair, it is hard to refocus on the positives thoughts, but it is my desire that you take one step at a time. Look for one thing you can be grateful for and one more and one more. 

This will enable you, over time, to begin to see and focus more on more positive things, thus giving less power to the negative ones. 

I challenge you to begin this practice today if you are struggling.

If you already focus on the positive things in your live, way to go! I am super proud of you

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Believe in Yourself, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Journey, Life, Motivation, Strength

God Mends The Broken-Hearted

Dear Sweet Friend,

Your pain is real. Your hurt is real. Your frustrations are real. Your fear is real. Your tears are real.

I may not know what is weighing heavy on your hearts tonight, but I do not need to know.

The One who needs to know, already knows.

I know so many who are struggling with “real” life situations that the pain is just more than unbearable,it is paralyzing you.

My dear friend, if this is you tonight, please know you are not alone.

“The same God who created your heart, is the same God who can mend your broken one.” HD Benson

Be encouraged knowing that He knows every tear you have shed and every fear you experienced.

He knows you need to pass a class in school.

He knows the relationship strains you have that just have you worn out and exhausted.

He knows the financial strain you may be feeling as well as the physical health issues you may be struggling with.

My dear sweet friend, turn your fears and concerns over to God tonight. He does not want you to carry this weight any longer.

He wants you to rest in His arms and give Him all of your concerns while He strengthens you tonight.

My friend, find the peace you need in your Creator!

If He knows how many hairs on your head, He too knows your every concern. Give them to Him right now. Give them to Him tonight.

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

Opening Our Hearts to Gratitude

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

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

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

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

Happy November!

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Believe in Yourself, Bible, Bravery, Challenge, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Encouragement Today, Faith, Hope, Inspiration, Journey, Keeping It Real, Life, Motivation, Peace, Strength

Faith Believes in The Impossible

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I am sharing some comfort, as well as hugs, to those who find themselves struggling with something today.

My encouragement to those who find themselves battling in difficulties is this…. you will get through this time and you will get through this season of hardships.

There is a key to remembering this and it is found in Deuteronomy:

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

You are never alone and God has not forsaken you. He sees your tears and He hears your cries.

Remember this truth, no matter how many lies you hear from the enemy, they will never be true.

The only real truth you need to believe is what God is saying to you today. Spend some time talking to Him and by doing so, you will hear the words of comfort and peace He is sharing.

He loves you with all His heart. He believes in you, my friend!

He sees your beauty and your worth. He made you uniquely special and with a special purpose. It is during this difficult time that He will turn it around and show you how to use it for good and for His Glory.

If you find yourself doubting this, just think about all Job or Joseph or Joshua, or most importantly, Jesus; and all they went through. If you feel like, because you are a woman, they do not qualify, then think about all Queen Esther or Ruth or Sarah went through. Their suffering was real. Their personal trials were big to them, but God brought them through all of their hardships and are we not still talking about them today?

God is still using their hurt and their pain to make something good out of it. He is using their stories to encourage us during our times of trials and hardships.

My Friend, just as He is using their story to encourage and comfort us, He will use our trials and hardships to encourage others as well.

Hang in their today, oh weary and heart-broken friend. This too will pass and one day you will be able to share your story to encourage others as well.

Stand tall and if you can not because you are too tired and weary, I will stand with you.

If you find yourself in a time of great difficulty and you are in a desperate place and a need to reach out to someone, I am here.

Leave a comment below or send me a private message so you no longer have to feel like you are battling your trial in isolation.

Comfort, encouragement, Image, Journey, Kindness, Life, Strength

Strong Bonds

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Friendships and sisterhood are bonds that are never broken.

When you are too tired to hold your arms up in praise and worship,

“I am here to hold them up for you. God sees your tears and hears your cries.”

Unknown Author

He sees your smile and hears your laughter. Just as He sees and hears you, so do I.

Together we stand, forever we live. 

#sisterhood

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

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

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

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

Enjoy her encouraging post today.

Written by Trophy of Grace

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

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

Good morning beautiful TOG readers!

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

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

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

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

Have you stopped in the valley?

Do you keep looking back?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you?

God says,

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

~God

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

Praying for you!

Big hugs,

Nicole

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Believe in Yourself, Bravery, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Encouragement Today, Faith, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Peace, Strength

Darkness Turns To Sunshine

Today’s Encouragement is to remind you no matter how difficult life may seem, remain hopeful there are brighter days ahead.

God uses these hard times to grow us just as parents do as well.

How many times as a parent have you allowed your child to learn a difficult lesson only because it was something you could not save them from?

I, for one, have experienced this a lot over the past couple of years as I have stood back and watched my daughter struggle with her multiple health issues. As her mom, I can’t do anything to take away the pain she suffers with, but what I can do to encourage her is to, pray for comfort for her, hold her when the pain is unbearable and just let her know she is not alone. I can’t do anything to fix this problem or even take it away, but I can promise to encourage and comfort her during her greatest difficulties .

My friend, God is the same way. He can’t take our circumstances away, but He does promise to never leave us. He is always with us during our darkest of hours.

In a bible study over the weekend we were addressing a topic on pain and how God uses our pain to prepare our journey for something beautiful. I heard this great quote which was so inspirational and encouraging;

” God may have allowed your suffering, but He didn’t cause it.”

– stacha Ashburn and Lisa Dolinger

My friend, even in your darkest hour our God is still there. He has not forsaken or forgotten you.

Cling to this hope,

Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

– Eckhart Tolle

Hang in there dear friend, if you are hurting and if your pain is deep. Please know there is hope for brighter days ahead. I do not know how long this will take, but I can personally vouch for the fact the pain does eventually go away and the sun comes back out. Cling to the hope of knowing your darkness will turn back into light. Your tears will dry up and be replaced with the smiles you have longed to experience again.

Blessings, Comfort, Courage, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Journey, Life, Peace

Dance In The Rain

Encouragement Today

My friend, today’s thought is to remind you although it may be raining outside it does not mean it has to be a bad thing. Grab your rain coat, put on your goulashes and go outside to play in the rain.

Think about when you were a child, how much fun was it to go outside and jump in the puddles? The puddles would not be there if it had not rained.

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene

The same illustration can work for the rainy season of your life. Just because life becomes difficult, it does not mean it has all bad. Find the rainbow through the raindrops or look for the sun rays which shine through the clouds as the storm is getting ready to pass. Both can be the most beautiful part of the rain storm if only you take the time to look for them.

We can do the same thing during life’s struggles. Instead of focusing on all that is going wrong, look for something that is going right. When you do, life will begin to look as a beautiful as a rainbow again.

My daughter and I have learned to do this while on our journey through her chronic illnesses. We have learned to see humor where the average person would think we were terrible, but it truly helps to get her through difficult days of pain, shots, and appointments.

My friend, look for the silver lining in your rain cloud. When you begin to see it, you will be able to see the many blessing God has waiting for you.

Blessings, Encouragement Today, Journey, Kindness, Peace, Remembering

Honoring My Dad’s Memory

Encouragement Today

D2E89B84-2578-4BCE-90FA-CC31FE178EA8I am writing today with a heavy heart because it marks the 10 year anniversary of my sweet dad’s death.

It doesn’t seem possible that my dad has been gone for so long. He seems so alive in my heart, my mind, and my thoughts. Not a day goes by without thinking of him or saying something that he would find funny or finding myself using one of his many beloved phrases.

I absolutely love the times when God blesses me with someone who either looks like him or has his same mannerisms. I never take these moments for granted. I feel so blessed for the brief encounter, as I feel like I have spent that time with my dad. I am sure that seems weird, but I believe God meets our specific needs in life in mysterious ways. I may not even realize I needed that moment with my dad, but I never walk away without feeling thankful for it.

I can remember one day vividly when God gave me one of these brief moments in the grocery store last year. I was having a tough day and I was in the produce isle. I had noticed this sweet gentleman who had the same stocky figure wearing a flannel shirt similar to what my dad would have worn. As I noticed his face, my bewilderment only grew deeper. Oh my gosh, he had the same hair color, the same hair cut and similar glasses to what my dad had worn. No, this couldn’t be possible? This man looked so much like my dad, he could have been a twin.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I completely lost focus on what I was doing and discretely watched him in complete amazement. As I continued to watch him, I learned that not only did he look like my dad, but even had the same gentle mannerisms. All I could do was thank God for my brief encounter with my dad.

It was a moment in life I could never have planned for, hoped for, but yet God allowed me to experience and I will always hold that experience in my heart as a sweet memory and moment in time.

My friend, you may never know how you will touch or impact someone else’s life because He places people in our lives and we may never even know it. This gentleman will never know how much he touched my heart that day in the produce isle of a grocery store. Likewise, the sweet nurse at my dad’s nursing home will never know how much she touched mine and my mom’s heart the day she left a fresh white rose on my dad’s bed.

See, what you don’t know about my story is that my dad had to be put into a nursing home because he was having debilitating seizures as a result of his traumatic brain injury he sustained during the Vietnam War. This brain injury brought on early onset dementia and as the years went on, my dad forgot who I was, except for the last day I saw him. There was a moment on his last day that he looked at me and called me by the nick name he had given me when I was a child. I will never forget that sweet moment. God blessed me with this special time because I could never have asked or wished for it.

When we left him we knew he wasn’t doing well, but my mom wasn’t prepared to stay the night because she didn’t have her own medicine she would have needed to take that night and even the next day, so we knew choosing to rent a hotel room to stay with him wasn’t an option that day. Mom lived an hour and half away from him to include you had to drive through the mountains to get to there. Where mom lived, it could be raining, but during the winter months, you could encounter a severe snow storm going through the mountains, which is what happened that night to us after we got home. The weather forecast the night after we left my dad was for not only a snow storm but an ice storm too. Unfortunately, the forecast stood true. When we got up this morning 10 years ago my mom received a phone call from my dad’s nurse to tell her it was only a matter of time before he passed and there was nothing we could do. Had it only stayed a snow storm we would have trekked through the snow and the mountains to get to my dad, but with the ice, it was too dangerous. We couldn’t, we just couldn’t get back to my dad. It breaks my heart to have not been with him the day he died, but we couldn’t risk our lives to get back there. Thankfully, God knew our hearts and He knew we would have been there if we could have been. I believe He knew that which is why not only did we have a snowstorm, but God stepped up the storm making it an ice storm too. He knew we would have attempted to get through the snow storm to get to my dad.

This is why we didn’t get back to the nursing home to find that precious white rose until the day after my dad died. To the nurse who went above and beyond your job by leaving that pretty white rose on my dad’s bed for my mom, thank you! Your thoughtfulness to think of this will be forever embedded in my heart.

As I am remembering my dad today, my encouragement is to remind you that life is precious and valuable. If you still have your parents consider going to them today and give them a hug and tell them you love and appreciate them. If you are like me, and you don’t live close to them, try calling and tell them this same thing.

If you do not have your parents any longer consider this simple thought as you are out and about living your life and possibly doing something as mundane as running errands, you will never know how much your actions or gestures could touch someone else’s life. People are always watching us, even though you likely will never know it. Be mindful today of your actions whether they are with your family or friends or total strangers. Allow God to use you today to touch someone’s life. You may never know it, but you could leave a lasting impact on someone today so allow yourself to be that blessing God has planned for someone else.

Journey, Update

Quiet Times of Grief

DB5277EE-81EF-4F5A-B880-A51715BC2ECCPlease forgive me as I will need another day off from wring an Encouragement Today post.

This pain and loss of my BJ is just horrible. As I am finishing out this day, I have found myself looking for him and hearing sounds which I thought was him, but they were not.

i am trying very hard to not loose my voice through this exhaustion and heart break. I have a tendency to stop writing as you can tell by my archives.

I am trying very hard to not do this now. I am going to try working through the pain instead of running away from it and hiding.

Thank you for your patience!

Disclaimer, if there are any error, please excuse them.