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.
So all before 7:45am I have the cleanest smelling house in my community.
I managed to discover my hot water heater is leaking right after I opened up a fresh new bottle of bleach. As I discovered some wet stuff on some things in my laundry room, I left my bleach sitting on my dryer and went to get a bowl to put under the leaky hot water heater (as it is a little guy who is elevated above my head). While I was getting my bowl I heard something fall. I returned to my laundry room (which is off our carpeted family room) to find my bleach on the carpet spilling out with 3/4 of it emptied on my carpet. 😪
Now I am totally frustrated as I was hurried to get a few things done before trying to get some work done before Kiddo has her 2nd of 5 appointments between today and tomorrow afternoon.
Now my carpet is ruined and I should get my shop vac to absorb the extra water spilling out of my hot water heater tray when all I wanted to do was get some work done.
Oh boy, turn the cheek… make lemonade out of lemons and move on. I hope God provides me a few extra hours out of my day today.
Now to try to fix my problems.
I decided to show the real and and the raw behind all the encouragement I post.
Life is a struggle and life is real.
If this resonates with you, know I am right there with ya friend.
I decided today to write about it and to share it with you with the hopes you will be encouraged knowing you are not alone with the struggles of life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finding my Couragetodaywill 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.
What will my day look like? I have so much to do. Where do I begin?
Do you struggle with this some days? The list is just so long that it is overwhelming to even know where to begin.
Today I am feeling overwhelmed by my business. I am trying to still set it up so I can make extra money for our family. I have a couple of projects I need to create, start, and finish for orders. I need to work on my website. I need to do some accounting work. I just made a logo image which I needed for my website. I need to create some Easter products to sell and the list just goes on and on.
Then there are the house chores that need to be done. I need to get my laundry going. I have no clue what supper will be so I have no idea if I will need anything at the grocery store or defrosted from the freezer. I need to tidy up and clean the bathroom and dust before this gets any worse.
I have spring yard work that needs to be done before it gets ahead of me. Oh this list is just crazy.
I feel as though I should never complain about this load as I do not work outside of my home, but my blog is about being “real” and sharing my raw and real side so today I am doing just that. It is my hope and prayer it might encourage you to know you are not alone in experiencing the frustration of everything piling up on you.
The struggle is real. It is not pretty or elegant, but it is real.
I know I do not work outside of my home, but this is just so much to do. I wish my husband’s health would allow him to help me outside. I know he works, but a lot of people do and still manage to do yard work. If I did not have yard work, I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed, but it is what it is.
It is time to break out my planner and start sorting and planning out my responsibilities.
Do you get overwhelmed like this?It seems like when you do not work outside of the home that time should be plentiful, but for me, it is not. There is never enough time in the day to get everything done.
I am just thankful we did not have any doctor appointments this week. We are always appreciative for weeks like these where we can breathe again.
So where do I begin? Laundry… that is where I will begin and then get on my computer and do some business work as I think this is what is pressing me the most. I can take breaks and tackle home stuff. Time to take small bites and whittle away at the big piece of this puzzle.
Are you finishing up a difficult night like we are?
Our night has been difficult because Kiddo had a tough one. She has not felt good all day, but despite this issue, she still had to do her weekly IgG Infusion.
She felt defeated and beat down. She struggles on nights like tonight when they are difficult. What makes it even harder is when she questions why God gave her so many health issues and I have no answers in return. All I can say is, “I do not know.”
Are you feeling beat down and defeated tonight as well? I have some simple advice for you.
“Look up when darkness surrounds you. God is waiting for you.”
This seems like a simple task, but yet it is often times very difficult.
My friend, keep your chin up and remember, tomorrow is a new day.
I am going to reveal the “reality” of my not so perfect holiday season with the hope if your holiday season was not all you wanted it to be, that this will encouraged you to know you are not the only one who struggled to get through a less than perfect Christmas season.
“Revelation and reality gives us the strength to conquer the messiness of life. ” HD Benson
We often times find ourselves comparing our lives to the perfection of the lives we see around us. When we watch Hallmark movies, we see everything is perfectly decorated and all the homemade Christmas treats are perfectly made and decorated. Then there is the perfection we see on FaceBook and on Instagram posts.
My Friend, this is not a reality. Do not compare your life to what you see in others. They only show you what they want you to see. They do not show you what is real and messy.
Now, I am going to show you my real and my messy with the hopes of encouraging you if yours looked anything like mine, it is okay because we all survived and got through another holiday season.
This week has been a week where I found myself in need of rest from an incredibly exhausting past few weeks and a grueling holiday season.
Once we finished with Thanksgiving, I decided to help my daughter who was extremely sick, finish her college semester in school. As her mom, who knows all she had gone through with her health and watched her struggle with pain and sickness for two straight months, I could not watch her fall into a pit of darkness and failure.
Instead, I put on my cheerleading clothes and drug out the pompoms and went to town. She was in desperate need of encouragement and strength and “mom” support, which I did for her. I stopped everything Christmas, stayed up late with her, got up early and she finished. She not only finished, but she finished with amazing grades. I am super proud of her for what she achieved in her first semester of college. I am praying for her health becomes better managed and her semester to come, is a much better one for her.
Once she finished her last class, it was time to jump back into Christmas mode, which I had avoided to give her everything she needed to get through this semester. I avoided the calendar to see how close we were getting to Christmas. I did everything possible to remain stress-free to keep my family happy and grounded during this crazy holiday season. However, when it was all done and I looked at the calendar, it was not pretty. I had one week to get five weeks worth of work done. I had to shop (as I had not bought one gift for anyone). I had to make the gifts we were giving away and I had not baked my first Christmas dessert yet. I told myself I had to do all of this with the minimalist amount of stress to keep the holiday cheer in my house.
What I have not mentioned was the really bad cold my daughter had, went through all of us. I had to take her to the doctor twice, my husband twice and the night of his first Emergency Room visit, I ran a fever that night and I ended up catching it as well and became extremely sick, but I fought my way through it to make Christmas happen.
With the strength God gave me and with His guidance to get through it all, I finished everything at 11:40 on Christmas Eve. It was all done and I could breathe again.
I wish I could say this all happened with no stress, but I can not. I did, however, make every effort of minimalizing it and that I feel like I accomplished it. I also have to confess that I was only able to pull off the first five days because my doctor put me on steroids as well as a steroid injection and an inhaler which enabled me to get a lot done because I do not handle steroids and sleep.
As a result of the steroids, I did begin to feel better and they gave me the extra energy that I needed to finish Christmas in time, but the exhausted crash that came afterward has been horrible. I needed this week to just rest and sleep to get caught back up.
This is the “real” and the raw of how my holidays went this year. I am, however, extremely thankful to hear back from not only my family but from my mom as well, that this was one of our best Christmas’s we have had in a long time.
Despite the sacrifices I made early on to help my daughter, they paid off in the end. It was not a traditional holiday season for me, but it came together in the very end and thankfully it all turned out well.
My friend, it does not matter how yours looked, whether it was wrought with challenges or it went smoothly, all that matters is that you tried and it is all done now for another year.
Now I will wish you all Happy New Year. It is my prayer this coming year will be one of peace and joy, changes if you are in need of them and the grace to accept everything that comes your way.
It is Monday again and not just an ordinary Monday, but the one following Thanksgiving. I find myself left with the question of, “already?” It does not seem possible the Holidays are back again already.
I lost track of time in writing from the last time I wrote because I did, in fact, paint the trim in my freshly painted house.
Despite the post I wrote a time or two back, I knew it needed to be done despite any resistance that I could have been met with, but in the end, painting the trim was thankfully met with appreciation instead. It truly freshened up the look of our house and helped to transform our house back into a home again.
My daughter is completely happy with the updated look and this makes me happy. I know she is older, but I want our home to always be a place of comfort, safety, and love.
In all of this downtime between the last time I wrote and today, I pulled off getting my house updated and fresh again. We celebrated my daughter’s twenty-first birthday, celebrated Thanksgiving, and I transformed our home into a Christmas Wonderland for another year.
When I decorate our house this means our living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room. Every room takes on a Christmas look in some fashion or another.
It took me several days of decorating so I started the day before Thanksgiving because I love having our dining room decorated for our Thanksgiving meal. We have a Soldier Christmas Tree in that room. We first decorated that tree eight years ago when my husband was deployed and I wanted a special tree to serve as a visual reminder of all of our Soldiers who would not be home for the holidays. We have dark brown Christmas ornaments on that tree to serve as a reminder of them being in Iraq that year.
I keep this tradition alive even today because although my husband is no longer a Soldier in the Army, there are many other Service members who are not home for the Holidays because they are away Serving our Country.
I decorate our family room in blue lights because we still, to this day, use a four-foot tabletop tree we used in our apartment foyer when we lived in Germany. We bring those decorations out every year to serve as a reminder of the first few years we were married and stationed so far away from home.
As for the rest of the house, it is game on for tradition. The kitchen is decorated with a simplistic look and our living room is decorated with a traditional Christmas look mixed in with a little bit of European. We have our large family tree in the living room and it is decorated with all our special ornaments. Lastly, I bring out our German Nutcrackers and spread them throughout the room which completes the decorated space.
This year I had an agenda to get my decorating done by this past weekend. I needed it done so I could get back into focusing on life again.
What I have failed to mention is that my Kiddo is sick again. She picked up a cold a couple of weeks ago and we thought she was going to be able to fight it, but just when we let our guard down because she was feeling better, it came back with a vengeance.
Now she is really sick and unfortunately, it is with everything she does not have the immunity to fight on her own. I took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with strep throat, pink eye, laryngitis, and inflamed sinuses.
He decided with everything she had to give her an antibiotic to prevent this from getting worse, but here we are and it is Monday, and she feels even worse. The only thing that is better is her pink eye.
So now I sit here writing and waiting for the doctor’s office to call me back with some direction in what to do with all of this.
This is why I needed our Christmas decorations up so when sickness consumed our time again, I would have the creature comforts of home for the holidays done and not have the stress of decorating hanging over my heard adding even more stress to my plate.
Not many people understand what our life entails with sickness always being at the forefront of our life, but it, unfortunately, is our reality.
There are so many days that I live in frustration, such as today. I do not know what to do to make my daughter feel better. I know she needs to get her lessons in college done as the semester is going to come to a close quickly. She needs to get back to campus to enroll in the next semester’s worth of classes, which she was going to do this week, but with this crud hanging over her head and her not feeling good and not able to talk yet, I do not know if she will get there this week or not.
This is the unpredictability of our life. It is a hard way to live and one I get so frustrated with living with. Between this poor kid’s migraines and immune deficiency running her life, everything we do is just put on hold.
She does not have control over any of this and I know this. I try to be as supportive as I know how to be. It just breaks my heart to see her struggling so much.
I had a picture pop up on my computer from a few years ago and I find myself missing those days so much. I find when I look at pictures of her now I can see in her face and in her eyes when her health took the turn it did. I do not know what God’s purpose in any of this is or how long she will have to struggle and suffer, but it is my constant prayer, He will bless her in a mighty way for all of it.
In closing, I want you to know I am still here and it is my Christmas hope and prayer to be able to encourage you as we travel into this Christmas Season.
This blog post took me all day to write as I wrote it in increments, but I am going to still post it even though it is the end of the day. It is just symbolic of how my day flow. Some days go smoothly and some are just getting through one interruption after another. You can clearly tell what kind of day today was for me.
I hope you had a good Monday. I hope it was one of productivity. It is my prayer for you that your week will go smoothly and you will accomplish many things.