#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Burn out, Discouraged, encouragement, Exhausted, Journey, Keeping It Real, Weariness

Life Is Real, The Struggles Are Too

Just throwing some real life out there….

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.

Make the best of your day!

Bondage, Broken, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Rawness, Real, Strength

Set Yourself Free From The Bondage of Masks

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“Good Morning”, the cordial greeting of the day. You put a smile on your face and you return the appropriate greeting and then comes the common follow-up question which is, “How are you?” While you are still smiling, you say good and you?

This is how the typical Monday morning goes. You put on your mask and life is all good again, but is it really?

Do your masks look anything like mine? Do you have a happy face that is well-worn and beginning to fall apart? Do you have the, as my husband says, the neither here nor there face? How about the grouchy face (which if I am being honest is rather worn out)? Do you have the worried face (which has been my go-to mask with all the sickness my family has been through) or how about the frustrated and the angry face? These are my masks I have to hang beside my keys which are ready to grab as soon as I get my keys to go out the door.

Which mask do you grab for the concealment of your everyday real emotions? As for me, I grab a happy face because I can not show others that everything is not ok. Only the people who are close to me know what my real face looks like. To everyone else, they only know the mask I wear.

I often think of the masks I wear every time I mow my lawn. It is important to me to keep my lawn mowed because if my yard is in order then it reflects a well-ordered life from the outsider’s perspective. What the average person driving past my house does not realize, is that if they came through my front door, they would quickly realize I am struggling to keep the chaos and disorder at bay. My house many days is a mess (as my husband often says, and so is everyone else’s, who cares, but he doesn’t understand that I care). I have dog hair (in clumps at the moment) all over the place. My bathroom is in dire need of cleaning. I struggle to keep up with the laundry and my floors need to be vacuumed and mopped. Overall, the house is in desperate need of some love, cleaning, and maintenance.

I know many are reading this thinking I thought we all struggled with this every day? For me personally, it is a struggle I wish I didn’t have. When I gave up my career years ago to come home to be a stay at home mom, I took my responsibility seriously and part of this responsibility was to keep our home and family happy, organized, and free of chaos.

Unfortunately, unhappiness, chaos, and disorder are how we seem to live now. Money is tight, so when something breaks, we can not usually afford to fix it (unless it is something that is serious, such as my car). I am sitting at the car repair shop just this morning, waiting for my car to be fixed as I write this.

Between all the doctor appointments, I am always on the road running between appointment after appointment. Then when we get home from them, it is back in the car to get Kiddo to work, then run errands and return home to decide which is more important, the housework or trying to start my craft and graphic design business to get it off the ground so we can make some extra money, that we are desperately in need of.

So with all of the personal revelation I have made and the rawness of my “real” life, now you know a little more about who I am, personally. The “superficial” me is about keeping up appearances. I grew up being taught we are to be responsible and keep our feelings to yourself. You do not allow anyone to know how bad life can be. You hide this because outsiders are to only see your “best” behavior. Now years later, I find myself struggling with the fallacy of how I was raised while keeping up with the appearance that says, I look responsible and organized. The problem with this is on the inside I struggle with who I am now. I struggle with what I consider to be important. I find I am struggling with trying to figure out who the “real” me is for all the masks I have worn for so many years.

How about you? Do you struggle with this same identity crises because of the years you have worn your masks? Have you finally broke free from the bondage of the masks or are you still hiding? How did you break free?

I think the time has come to remove the masks and let our true identity be visible and shine through. I am challenging you today to make a commitment with me to allow your “real” face to be seen by others.

Today is the day we unmask and set ourselves free from the bondage of false identities.

Remember Today… You are beautiful when you are being your “real” self. Allow that person to be seen by everyone now.
Broken, Burn out, Challenge, Courage, Discouraged, Focus, Image, Journey, Life, Strength

Live Your Life With A Purpose

Inspiration Through Images

All too often a picture can say a thousand words and this quote is one that spoke to me, so your inspiration is coming via an image today.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. -Lao Tzu

Take some time to reflect on where you are in your life and where you would like to be.

Many times I think we get so busy “doing life” that we forget to ” live it”, is this where you find yourself? If so, take some time to consider this challenge, to live according to how you imagined life to be, not what it has become, even if it is for only a brief moment.

If you do, and you are excited about how you felt, leave me a comment below and we can celebrate it together.

Blessings, Courage, Encouragement Today, Faith, Homeschool, Journey, Life, Motivation, Strength

Harvesting The Education

Encouragement Today

people coffee meeting team

Today’s inspiration and encouragement are directed toward my fellow homeschooling families.

As you are preparing for a new school year, I wanted to take a minute to encourage you to enjoy this journey.

I am not going to lie and say it is an easy one because it is not, but I can reassure you that it is a rewarding and fulfilling one.

I homeschooled my daughter from pre-school all the way through her senior year. I wish I could say it was “always” enjoyable and easy because it was not, but the time we shared together is one I will never look back on and regret. Our relationship has been blessed by it. 

For my daughter and I, we literally did this journey alone. We did not have help, we had very little encouragement from outsiders, but we made it work. I am thankful I never gave up. I am thankful I stood my ground against the naysayers who thought I was terrible to not “socialize” her. Little did they know when she graduated, her high school transcripts reflected over 1,200 volunteer hours (from 2 volunteer jobs, our local library, and the U.S. Army), a job since she was 16 years old, and several certificates from events she participated with. If this is my child not being socialized than I will never be able to please the social bandwagon crowd.

I have been reflecting on our homeschooling journey more this week because my Girly started college on Monday. She is going online so she can still work around her health issues, numerous doctor appointments, and the job she still has, for this, I am beyond proud of her. 

In reflecting back to all I provided and taught her, I saw the fears, concerns, and joys we experienced through the years mirroring back at me, however as I am looking forward,  I am seeing the beautiful and bountiful fruits of my labor ripen before my eyes. My harvest season is upon me.

When I was quietly watching her figure out her way through what she needed to do and how she needed to do it, (when this was all foreign to her), I sat back and quietly thought to myself for a brief moment, what if I didn’t do enough? What will happen now if I didn’t teach her all she needed to know?

My friend, this is where I am going to encourage you. Those thoughts may pass in your own mind, but you do not have to own them. When your child goes to college, it does not matter what classes they had, what classes they didn’t have. All that will matter when they walk through the halls of college is the foundation you laid. 

I did not allow my passing question of fear to manifest itself any longer than a passing thought. I can look at my daughter today, day three of her college education, and be proud of what I did give her. That my friend was a firm foundation to continue on with her new-found journey. I taught her the skills she needs in life to figure out how to manage her time and how to research what she doesn’t know, but most of all, I taught her to not give up when times are hard. All of these skills were taught while she was homeschooled.

For the people who question if you are socializing your child or children, just ignore them. To the parent who questions, but what if I forgot to teach a subject, no worries. They will have everything you forgot to teach at a college level and it won’t matter because they will learn it at that next level.

Remember this, my friend, every class you taught, they had never had before. They had to learn it all for the first time. College is no different. They will take all their classes they have never had before and they will continue to learn just as they did from you. It is all good now, everything washes clean.

My friend who is homeschooling, whether this is your first year,  your fifth year or even your last year, my encouragement is to never give up, no matter how hard your day may be. There is always tomorrow or next week or next month. You will not have a hard time forever. It only comes in a season. Those seasons may seem like forever. They may even seem like a whole school year, but if it is, go to your knees in prayer and ask God to redirect you as their mom and their teacher and the most important lesson is to remember why you embarked on this journey, to begin with? That reason will keep you going and will help you see this journey to the end.

Your harvest time will come and your fruit will be bountiful. This is a journey worth taking, no matter how hard or easy it may be.

You can do this, homeschool mom/parent, YOU CAN DO THIS!
Anxiety, Challenge, Character, Encouragement Today, Journey, Kindness, Life, Peace, Rest

Relax and Rest in The Peace of Choosing Kindness

Encouragement Today and Weekend Reminder

design-189Today’s inspiration is coming from a scene I witnessed at the store the other day.

Today’s is a two-fold lesson; one, it shows how kindness and respect to others lead us to a peace and two, how our children are always watching us to see how we respond and react in difficult situations.

I believe when we do these simple acts of kindness they will bring us a sense of peace.

I witnessed a mom being extremely disrespectful to a store employee immediately after this worker helped her resolve a problem. I could not believe what I was seeing or hearing. I did not miss anything that led up to it because I was there the entire time. The store employee did nothing to be rude or disrespectful to this shopper, but this shopper was extremely ugly to her afterward.

As I stood there in disbelief, I realized she had two young teenagers with her and my disbelief quickly turned to disgust because her children were watching and seeing everything going on. Through this experience, she taught her children it is completely alright to treat others with disrespect and tell them whatever is on your mind.

This employee did “nothing” wrong. She just did her job (as this lady was told nicely several times as she continued to cause her ugly scene).

My friends, there is a time and place where you stand up for something you feel or believe in, however, I do not believe it is ok to do it disrespectfully or in anger. It is never okay to be rude or disrespectful to others to make yourself feel or look good. I think back to what I was taught when I was younger. If you do not have something nice to say, then do not say anything at all.

As I look back at what I witnessed, how much stress did this person cause herself by being ugly? It takes a lot of energy out of you to act angry and mean. If she had just continued to take care of her business and let the employee continued to do her job, none of that stress would have ever happened.

Today’s reminder is to consider your words and actions every time you use or show them. They can either create a peace or they can cause stress and anxiety in our hearts. Relax and rest in the peace of choosing kindness today.

Lastly, please, please, please, remember if you have children, no matter how old they are, they are watching your every move. Every word and every action you use is teaching them the way to respond when they are faced with difficulties in their lives. Teach them appropriately and responsibly how to handle any given situation.

Today’s weekend reminder is to remind you peace leads to rest. Think about how you react and respond to others. If you are courteous, polite, and kind, you will feel better about yourself and will feel more peace within your heart as well.

Rest in Your Peace Today!
Anxiety, Broken, Challenge, Comfort, Courage, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Grief, Journey, Life, Remembering

The Struggles of Important Days

Encouragement Today

silhouette of man standing near body of water
Photo by Andrii Nikolaienko on Pexels.com

As I scrolled through my Facebook and Instagram accounts first thing this morning and saw all the sweet Father’s Day messages and memories.

However, God placed it on my heart to write to those people who may not have those memories or that sweet and magical relationship with their father.

Unfortunately, there are many dads who fall short in being that parent God designed them to be. As a result, the pain of today can run deep instead of being a day of sweet memories and time spent with your dad. 

I am truly sorry as you struggle to get through today when the media has bombarded us with what society has set for a standard of what the “perfect” dad is like and who he is supposed to be.

If you are struggling with terrible memories that haunt you instead of memories that bless or inspire you, my encouragement for you is to be strong my Friend, knowing today will not last forever.

Take the day, instead of sitting in the hardship and go out to make sweet memories with your kids (if you are a dad). If you are not a dad, look in your heart and see if there are people in your life who did take you under their wing and guided you and loved you when they did not have to. Consider calling them or visit them and express your appreciation for the love they shared with you and how much it meant or means to you.

Unfortunately, there are still those people who will find even the latter of these difficult because parental figures just let you down at every turn. Today, I encourage you to just get out of the house and go do something you enjoy. Go out for a long run or go to the beach. Are you a hiker? Then hit the trails. It does not matter what your favorite thing is so long as you get out of the house and use your favorite activity as a distraction to get through the day.

My friend, I know personally how hard days like today can be and how lonely you may feel. Please know that you are not alone. There are many people who know your hidden pain. They may not talk about it openly, but they know how ugly and real the pain is.

It is my prayer that you do not get lost or stuck in this pain and that you can stand up tall and strong and fight back against the hurt and even the tears rising above all the wrongdoings of your memories.

To those of you who are struggling today, know that you are not forgotten. There will be a special prayer in my heart for those of you who may need them to get through today.

Stand tall and strong, you have the strength to get through this difficult day!

Encouragement Today, Journey, Life

Transformation Through Refinement

Encouragement Today

While I was making this sign yesterday I watched how it was transformed from an ordinary raw piece of wood into something pretty and while I observed this, God brought to my mind several times the word, “Transformation”.

As I began sanding this rough board that was full of splinters, bark, as well as a knot, God brought to my mind how this board was a reflection of our lives. Each rough spot and each flaw represented our personality and the mistakes we make in our lives. As I sanded this board down the flaws were no longer pronounced, they were smooth and although some faults were still there, they were made beautiful. The rough bark was no longer ugly, it added character and the knot, although it did not go away, it added a beauty to the wood as well. Every rough spot in this board was now soft and beautiful. The act of sanding is a form of refinement thus making this old board appear together new again.

This is no different than what we experience in our own lives. The trials and hardships are like the sander to this board. The trials work to smooth out our personality and works to refine our character into something that is nicer and more beautiful than what it was before the trials and hardships happened.

When time has passed and the trials are behind you, take a step back and look at all you have been through. Observe each step starting at the beginning and see the progress you have made.

You started out with rough spots that were less than desirable, but after being sanded and refined, our Creator “transformed” you into something beautiful just as this rough board was transformed into a beautiful sign.

Take the time to observe how your life is similar to this sign. Have your trials and hardships transformed who you to who you are today?

Lastly, be thankful for how God has refined you. Refinement is never easy, but the results are always beautiful.

Broken, Comfort, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Exhausted, Journey, Life, Strength, Weariness

Do Not Let Labels Define You

Encouragement Today

design-121As we were driving down the road to go to another doctor appointment for my daughter I was thinking about all she has been through over the past couple of years. I was thinking about all the pain she has endured and all the sickness she has experienced, but because she is such a medical mystery she has not been labeled with a “formal” one problem diagnosis.

She has various issues which she struggles with, but not one formal diagnosis which ties it all together. As frustrating as this can be, I think in the long run it has helped her.

She knows she doesn’t feel good and she knows she is always in pain of some form or another, but there is not one thing she looks at and says, “Why me? Why do I have this diagnosis? Why doesn’t God heal me of this _________?”

As a result of this, she does not allow herself to be identified by a label and she does not allow herself to be limited by her label either.

She gets up every morning ready to conquer the day. Whether she is to battle a day of pain or sickness, a day of school work, or if she will go to work with a fresh mind. To her, every day is its own day, but for her, it is a day that will not be based on the limits of her diagnosis.

I think of this because I recently had a discussion with someone who does have a diagnosed medical issue and they allow themselves to be limited by their diagnosis. They allow that label to not only define who they are, but they allow it to run their life.

Today’s encouragement is to provoke you to think about what hinders you in life? Do you battle a disease, a handicap, or a hardship that has caused your life to change? Have you allowed something in your life to change who you are or what you have wanted to do with your life?

My friend, think about what labels you have attached to yourself? Take some time to think about how those labels have changed or limited your ability to live your life to the fullest?

Do not allow your chronic illness, PTSD, amputation, MS, cancer, homelessness or whatever you can fill in the blank _________ with, hinder you from living the life you wished to have for yourself.

Look at your label today, identify it, and tell it, “No more ___________ (place your label here) I will not allow you to run me for I am regaining control over my life.

My Friend, you are stronger, braver, and more courageous than any label you have that is controlling your life. Take control back.
Challenge, Courage, Depression, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Humility, Journey, Life, Strength, Thankfulness

Perspective Alters The Colors of The Weeds in Your Life

Encouragement Today

Today’s inspiration is to look beyond what you see because beauty can be found in everything and everyone if you only change your perspective.

“Weed are flowers too, once you get to know them.” A.A. Milne

Have you thought about how everything in life revolves around perspective. Depending on what your circumstances are, if you look at them from a different perspective, you could change the entire outcome.

Think about what the definition of perspective is.

per·spec·tive

pərˈspektiv/

noun

a particular attitude toward or a way of regarding something; a point of view.

If you look at a situation in your life from a pessimistic perspective, your outcome will likely have a negative outcome, however if you look at a situation from an optimistic view, you are likely to have a positive outcome.

My challenge to you is this, the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, examine and evaluate every aspect of it. Examine how you are looking at it and evaluate where you can make the necessary changes that will change the outcome of how everything turns out.

If you tend to be a pessimistic person, consider working on how you look at your life. If you could take one small step at a time to change the view in which you look at your difficulties, you will be amazed at how much different everything will look.

My friend, take the weeds in your life and consider looking at them as the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen. Think about them in a field. You can look at a beautiful field covered in the yellow of buttercup flowers or a brilliant orange from the Indian paintbrush flowers, but think about how nice they would look if they were all over your lawn? No one who puts the effort into having a nice lawn wants to see weeds growing up in it, but those same weeds can make a plain field look majestic when they are growing all together.

My friend, everything in life revolves around a matter of perspective. Open your heart and your eyes to evaluate how you are looking at all the obstacles you may have. Consider looking for the brilliant colors of the weeds in your life and see how they will change you by changing your perspective in how you see them.

Challenge, Comfort, Courage, Encouragement Today, Focus, Gratitude, Journey, Life

Using Mirrors To Observe The Positives In Your Life

Encouragement Today

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Today’s Encouragement is to inspire you to take the time to evaluate your life and look at everything that is going well.

“Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, but because you choose to see it as such.” Ralph Marston

All too often we fall into a trap where we see and focus on things that are negative, but do not spend as much time looking at things that are positive.

My friend, your challenge today is simple, spend some time examining your life and focus only on the positive things. When you begin to focus on the things that are good, your life will not seem as bad.

By taking the time to view these positives in your life, your heart will begin to soften and the power of gratitude and thankfulness will be seen again.