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.
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.
There are so many people struggling with anxiety for a variety of issues today.
There are many who are battling with issues Covid-19 has caused. Many are battling the virus, while others may be feeling the effects of having their jobs impacted, or are being forced to live in isolation. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, if you are battling with anxiety, then this feeling is real to you.
Some may be experiencing health related issues, or the uncertainty of pending surgeries. These medical concerns may have you consumed because of the pain you are in, or the fear of the bills that may be created as a result of this experience. The anxiety it is causing is real to you.
Some of you who are in school or are going to college may be stressed over the amount of work you have to invest in each class, or the papers you need to write, the exams you need to study for and take, as well as the numerous amount of deadlines that need to be met. This struggle is real and the anxiety is insurmountable.
Some may be in difficult relationships with spouses, family members, or friends. You know the relationship is toxic, but you are not sure how to end it or if you should. What you are certain with is that the pressures and the stress it is causing is more than what you want to continue to live with, but how do you make the changes that need to be made?
It does not matter what the struggle is. What matters is, the struggle is real.
It is my desire and prayer, God will use this Sunday Reminder to give you the strength to “Be Strong and Courageous.”
“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Do not be dismayed because God is with you. He is guiding you. He is giving you the strength and the courage you need to battle your anxiety.
Be sure to spend some quiet time with Him today and ask Him for the guidance you need to fight this battle and know He will deliver you the peace and comfort you are in need of. He will walk you through the difficulty and you will begin to experience a peace you didn’t think you could have.
Rest in your Master’s arms and allow Him to free you from all that concerns you today.
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.
This is how I am starting my day again. Sitting in a doctor’s office parking lot.
Today is a bit harder though. Today I could just sit here and weep as my daughter walks off by herself to go get 25-30 nerve blocks in her head for another month.
I’m choosing to not give in to my emotions though in just the off chance the “Corona Police” are not at the front door inspecting everyone (please, do not criticize my response). I know they are there to help and protect others, but when you live what we live, it isn’t easy to run into this “all” the time.
Thanks to this Corona Pandemic she has to do all her doctor appointments alone, because they will not let me anywhere near the building.
Seriously people, who wants to get all of these shots in their head and do it alone?
I can speak for myself, no, not me! I hate shots and I’m talking just the ones you get in your arm.
But for my precious daughter, she is getting them in her head to help with her chronic migraines. It is the only way she can manage them now. She does this once a month, but who knew we would ever get to a point in life where she would be forced, by others, to have to endure this all alone.
Today is one of those difficult days to watch her suffer and struggle.
I have already texted my husband asking, why?!? Why does she have to battle to live a “normal” life.
Why does everyday have to be one where she endures pain and overwhelming fatigue?
Why can’t she be healthy and live a “typical” college kid’s life?
This has been an exasperating week for us, which is probably why I just want to sit and weep and maybe even just cry.
Our health insurance, which is suppose to be the top of the line, has decided that because she reached her “projected” graduation date that they are going to cancel her health insurance in a matter of days.
These are the same people who pay a “ton” of money for her health care already.
So we have had to jump through some mega hoops to get the proof from her college, (that is closed down due to the Covid-19 crisis), to prove she is still in college.
I am completely baffled as to how and why this is happening still.
We are left now praying that everything we submitted will work to prove she is still in college. If just one person slows this process down, she will be left not covered by health insurance.
Without health insurance all her treatments will stop, she will not have access to the specialists we spent years trying to find, and we will not be able to afford all the medicine she is on.
This is such as scary thought as I write it. It should be something we shouldn’t even have to be going through. The system is seriously broken for this to be occurring. This was something we knew would be coming on her 23rd birthday, and that we were prepared mentally for, and would not have waited until the last minute, or in this case, second, to fix it.
No, in this situation, someone made a serious mistake 2 years ago and we are just now finding out about it and have literally hours to fix it before the damage it will cause to my daughter will be massive, debilitating and permanent.
So, I sit here with a knot in the pit of my stomach, looking at a busy parking lot. There is an ambulance and a fire truck at the entrance where I keep looking up to see if my daughter is walking out of.
I’m left to sit here asking God why? Why does she have to suffer? What will be her story? What will be her testimony? Why does every day have to be a battle?
Until God decides the time to reveal those answers, I know I just have to keep trusting in Him for the direction, protection, and discernment.
Are you in a similar battle? I know others are. Please know I’m here with you. I know the lonely feeling this life brings. Please know if you are, I standing beside you.
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.
I must just sit down and take some time to decompress from the stress of life. I feel like I am trapped on a hamster wheel and I cannot get off. I know everyone has problems, we are all human, but how we handle them is completely different.
I for one, compartmentalized my stress and worries. I have so many issues and concerns that worry me that I have found if I place them all into their own individual boxes then I can open them as I need worry about them.
As for my boxes, they look a little like this…
One for finances.
One for my daughters’ medical issues.
One for my husband’s medical issues.
One for my blog.
One for my business.
One for staying on top of managing my home and family.
One for trying to be a good wife.
One for trying to be a good mom.
One for trying to be a good daughter.
One for trying to be a good friend.
And the list can go on and on and on.
Unfortunately, for me, I can have all my boxes opened at one time and have all the contents, or in this case worries and concerns, laying all over the floor in a big heaping mess.
In the “picture perfect” world, I would only open one box at a time, but not me. I am that “raw” and “real” mess and I am exposing myself to you today with the hopes of encouraging you to know, if you too are like me, you are not alone.
I am not, by any means, saying this is healthy, as I know it is not, but what I am saying is that it is real and there are others who live in this messiness, we call life.
By living this way, it is impossible to give all this the focus it needs to be done efficiently and therefore it feels like everything in my world is either getting ahead of me or I am constantly in a state of it all falling apart.
I juggle all of this and because I do, nothing on this list gets my undivided attention and as a result, makes me feel stressed out, inadequate, and frustrated.
Do you have a set of boxes similar to mine and find yourself feeling the same way?
My friend, if you do, I am going to share with you what God shared with me this morning.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in the times of trouble.” Psalms 9:9-10
We can use this verse as a means of strength when we are weak, as a source of courage when we are scared, and a source of comfort when we are lonely.
When life has us knocked down like I described above, He is always there to guide us back to a time of stability and normalcy and strengthens us from our time of fragility. He is always there, even in the middle of our biggest messes, when we choose to open all our boxes at one time and then we feel overwhelmed and frightened by what awaits us.
My friend, God is our source of strength even in our darkest and weakest of times.If you have wandered away from Him and feel like you have strayed so far that He has forgotten you, I am here to remind you, you have not. He knows you and remembers you. He wants to be your comforter and your source of strength. He wants you to know you are loved unconditionally.
Remember the familiar bible verse that so many of us learned when we were children or new Christians,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
He loves us all unconditionally. He loves us no matter how messy our lives are. He loves us despite how many boxes we may have or how many we may have open at one time.
There is one thing that remains consistent as I write this blog post and it is this; God keeps reminding me that no matter how many boxes I may have opened or how many boxes I may have dumped all over the floor at one time, He is reminding me that it can all be picked back up (similar to our children doing clean up and putting all their toys away) and that once it is all picked up and placed back in the box, the cover can be closed and we do not have to see the mess any longer.
My Friend, as I close out this post, it is my desire through exposing the rawness of my life, that you are encouraged by knowing no matter what you are going through, God is still by your side. He is there comforting us as we open our boxes and wants us to turn to Him while we navigate our way through the boxes.
Be encouraged and know that no matter how dark and messy life may seem, there is always a hope to cling to and that hope is our Savior who is “ALWAYS” by our side. We are never alone no matter how lonely you may feel.
Peace and comfort my friend as you finish reading this. It is my desire if you struggle with the same messiness I struggle with, that God can use my ugly revelation today to encourage you to know you are not alone and that above everything else to know God is and will always be by your side.