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.
Today’s Encouragement is to remind you to not get so wrapped up in the past that you forget to live in the present.
“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”
I live in the shadows of my husband who suffers with PTSD and life stopped for us for what seemed like a long time. When life began to spiral out of control back in 2014, it was like life stopped there.
We lived through such a difficult time for so long that it was hard to see that we could start over or at least start where we left off.
It wasn’t until years later that life began to slowly recover from that horrible year and we were finally able to begin the slow process of rebuilding our lives and now we are finally back to a point where I feel like, instead of suffocating, we are able to breathe again.
Do you have a similar experience, but maybe your circumstances that sent you there are different.
Maybe yours stems from the loss of a loved one or from a tragedy? Maybe you had a difficult marriage and the loss of it has torn you up into what feels like tiny little pieces?
It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are that sent you to this difficult spot, what matters is that you have been able to move forward from it.
This is God’s desire for us. He doesn’t want for us to get stuck in our difficult situations,He wants us to use our experiences to grow from. With everything, there is always something good that comes from it. Sometimes we have to look hard for it, but as long as we find it, that is all that truly matters.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
Isaiah 9:2 ESV
Sweet friends, please know that it doesn’t matter how deep your pain is from your difficult experience, what matters is that you are able to move forward now.
Do not let the emotions of the past, hold you up in seeing the blessings of the future.
Allow yourself the time to heal from the open wounds of the past so that you are able to move towards the rewards God has for you in the present. For as long as you allow the past to control you, you will not be able to fully enjoy what the present is offering.
My Friend, you are important and God wants you to know He sees your pain, but doesn’t want you to live with it for the rest of your life. He wants you to begin the healing process, but, He needs for you to turn your eyes up on Him for this to happen.
Do not continue to live in the past, but instead, heal from your past so you can reap the rewards of the present.
You’ve got this Friend. If I can do it, I know you can too.
With the Holidays here, I wanted to share how much your continued support means to me.
I haven’t been able to write and post because my time has been spread so thin, but when I least expect it, I receive a notification that someone still wants to follow me and clicks like on something I have posted and know that I appreciate those notifications.
I am so thankful on this day of Thanksgiving that you have not given up on me or my blog.
Now to give you a quick update and prayerfully encourage you if your life looks like anything similar.
I believe I posted a while ago that after 22 years of being a stay at home wife and mom, I started working again. I am the afternoon receptionist at our local Christian school. The same one my sweet daughter has worked at for the last seven years. I love working at the same place both her and my sweet sister-in-law works at.
I started out by getting my feet wet at only 18 hours a week and that enabled me to still do what I have always done, but then as summer came and went and the new school year began, we found ourselves short staffed so my hours went up.
Now I find myself a mostly full time working mom facing the same struggles as everyone else. Not enough day to get everything done in.
The past couple of weeks have been especially challenging because we celebrated my daughter’s birthday as well as preparing for today and started decorating for Christmas (to save some time I don’t have).
In order to be ready for Thanksgiving, I had to do what many of you have done and worked into the night to get it all done to be ready for today.
As a result it made for an incredibly long day and what feels like and even longer week.
I am also the Social Media Manager for our local women’s ministry where I create all the images she uses on her social media platforms. This keeps me busy when I’m not at work.
Then there is my HL&E Designs home business. This has truly taken a beating though. After much prayer and consideration my daughter and I have decided to take a step back and only fill local orders for family and friends because they understand my time limitations and constraints better.
I am hoping to not dissolve my business permanently as this will enable me to continue to create special gifts for people, but until I can get back to that, I will continue to scale back my business orders.
Lastly, but by no means, is this the least important of my responsibilities and that is helping, supporting, and standing by my daughter’s side as she battles her chronic health issues.
Her constant health battles are something she battles every day of her life. Between the constant pain and fatigue, I’m reminded daily how much she battles with her body. She tries very hard to live her life as “normal” as she can, but when the pain and fatigue takes her out, then we are reminded that she isn’t healthy like you and I.
When life gets even crazier than life is, I’m quickly set back in my place and reminded I am a mom first and this happens to me on a regular basis.
So, this brings me back to here, to my blog. The thing I also love doing. I love writing, sharing, and encouraging you, my faithful followers.
If I can do this crazy busy life, I know you can too.
I love encouraging you to get through what seems so hard. I am constantly reminded from God to share my story and to share my experiences because He is using mine to encourage you.
So here is what I do best. Here is a dose of encouragement after my long life update.
God promises to never leave us or forsake us.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 ESV
He promises to give us strength when we are at our weakest.
My sweet friends, please know and be reminded today that no matter how busy you get, how discouraged you feel, or how lonely you feel, you are never alone.
Your Heavenly Father is still by your side. He is holding you up when you feel like you want to collapse. He will bring your smile back to those who have lost it. He will heal the hearts of those whose are broken.
This gentle reminder is shared with both you and me today.
So if you find yourself exhausted, lonely, or in pain (mentally, physically, or spiritually), it is my prayer that today you are able to look past it all and find all the reasons to be thankful for what you do have. Be thankful for what God has given to you.
“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
As I close today, be encouraged my friend, if you find you are able to relate to what I posted today, then know you are not alone. There are those who understand where you are and ultimately know God is by your side.
Be strong, be brave, be courageous, and today; Be Thankful.
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.