Recently my husband and I discussed what I believe is one of many promises in God’s word. I’m not a Bible scholar by any means, but I have read, memorized, and clung to bible verses through the years. The one verse in particular I’m referring to is:
“God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered.”
Another verse that comes to mind in Job 42:10 states:
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
We are watching this unfold in our lives again. God fulfilled this promise for me years ago, and even today I see His hand at work in different areas of our lives.
It may seem like evil is winning and we have lost this or that. We are told in God’s word the devil came to steal, kill, and destroy. Here’s the thing. GOD will not allow the enemy to win. What the enemy tries to take from you, GOD will restore and give you back MORE! I am a living, breathing, walking, talking testament to this promise from God.
My whole purpose in coming here today was to write to encourage you. If you are feeling stuck in a situation, just know you are NOT alone. God is with you! Evil will NOT win. God will make sure of that!
Do NOT lose faith and don’t give up hope.
Oh, dear one, God will restore to you everything you lost, and it will be greater than you could ever imagine when it happens. And it will happen. Cling to that until you see it unfold in your own life! God’s restoration!
Are you ready for some inspiration with QVC? I know you’re probably thinking this is not the typical place you’d go to as a source of inspiration; however, QVC will air a live Inspirational Gifts Show April 3, 2020 at 10 a.m. Central Time, 11 a.m. Eastern Time, that will change your opinion. I was so excited when I first learned that Candace Cameron Bure would be on the show featuring products from DaySpring, StephanBaby, Vintage Sparrow, and Headbands of Hope. With the threat of the Coronavirus, Candance will not be live on the show; however, she will be on video with some products of her own! There will be some real treats on display and for sale on QVC!
There are two companies I’d like to share with you that will be featured on Friday’s QVC show! Here is a little background information on the first company …
Annie Moss, Founder of The Vintage Sparrow, made it her mission to awaken courage within the hearts of women from all over the globe after raising money to go on a Kenya, East Africa mission trip! The commitment of The Vintage Sparrow is to remind women of their God-given identity so they can walk fully in all that God has called them to be!
Women love jewelry, and The Vintage Sparrow will be offering two necklaces for under $30.00 – what a deal as they are normally $24.00 each. There are four themes to choose from: love, faith, brave, and joy. I, personally, had the pleasure of receiving the Faith based theme. At a time like this, the necklace is a reminder to have faith and not to fear what is going on around us. God is greater than ALL of this in the world today that threatens us. Believe it, claim it, and know it is true!
When I was getting ready for work, I purposely chose this piece to slip around my neck as I greeted the day. With all the news media talking about the Coronavirus, it is easy to get caught up in this and feel extreme anxiety welling up inside of us. This necklace served as a reminder to not fear what is going on around us but to have faith. We are reminded in the bible that all it takes is faith as small as a mustard seed.
The Lord answered,
“If you have faith
even as small as a mustard seed,
you could say to this mulberry tree,
‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’
and it would obey you!
New Living Translation
What a beautiful reminder of God’s spoken words!
The next item I had the pleasure of receiving was from Headbands of Hope. This really touched my heart when I realized that for every item sold, a headband is given to a child with an illness. You can receive two headbands for under $30.00, which is a steal!
Allow me to share some background information on this company as well …
This truly inspiring wish-granting organization was brought about from Jess Ekstrom’s college dorm room as a result of desiring to donate headbands to children with cancer. Having researched and found that there was no business donating headbands, only hats and wigs to chemotherapy patients, Jess made it her mission to get this business up and running to help these children! It was so refreshing to find that these Headbands of Hope are now carried in thousands of stores across the world. Not only that, they have been featured on shows such as Today, Vanity Fair, Good Morning America, and Seventeen Magazine! There are also a variety of celebrities that have supported the cause. The most important “takeaway” from this is that for every headband ordered, a headband will be donated to children’s hospitals in American and also 15 other countries as well. You will receive a donation confirmation with each headband order that will state the exact hospital your purchase benefitted. Not only does this organization support children with childhood cancer, but it has opened up to ALL children with any type of childhood illness. Now that is a cause worth supporting!
Don’t forget to watch QVC’s Inspirational Gifts Show, which will feature meaningful gifts to help you convey your affection for the ones you hold so dear to your heart!
Tune in Friday, April 3, 2020 at 10 a.m. Central Time, 11 a.m. Eastern Time, on the QVC main channel (check your local listings) OR watch live on the QVC Facebook page!
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing the product/product information. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did/will receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Today I did something I’ve never done before. I ordered hats, scarves, and girly things online. This wasn’t just an ordinary order, though. It was an order of love.
My mother-in-law has gone for her port to be put in today. With that comes the acknowledgement and acceptance that she will ultimately lose her hair.
Easing onto the couch Sunday afternoon, she failed to find a comfortable position. We propped her up with pillows in an effort to help. Raising the foot rest on that end of the couch seemed to relieve some of the pressure. She sat in a reclining position trying to force a smile as she looked at us trying to hold a conversation about anything but what she was facing. Finally, she turned to me and said, “I do not want to lose my hair.” She paused for a moment before she continued, “I am too proud to walk around like that. I want a wig, something to cover my head, maybe even a scarf.”
And her wish was my command.
I know once treatment begins, she will gradually lose her hair within two weeks. Wanting her to have something prior to losing her hair, I found a site today called TLC, which specializes in products for women that are facing hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment.
I spent a good bit of time on the website as I looked through every type of wig and hair accessory you can imagine. Having taken a picture of my mother-in-law Sunday, I held it up to the computer to match her hair style and color as closely as possible. While I know it will be an adjustment, at least she can rest in the knowledge that she will have her items in two to three business days, as I “rushed” the order. She will have these items in time to play with them and see what better suits her before she loses her hair. And I’ll admit, once pressing “Submit Order,” tears stung my eyes as the reality of the situation was before me, and this made it more “real” some how.
Knowing women like a variety, I purchased a wig, hat, scarf, turban, and even what they call an “add-a-bang.” This item is to be worn with hats, scarves, and turbans where it will look like you have some peek-a-boo bangs in the front. They will come full enough where she can choose to show the entire bang, or she can have them thinned to her liking. I tried to match the color as close as possible, and I will keep my fingers crossed that she’ll like and actually use these items when I give them to her.
At a time like this, we focus so much on how helpless we feel. My husband struggles with this. He is a Mr. Fix-It, but there is no way that he can possibly fix this. Unfortunately, this is the hand of cards she was dealt, and she has no choice but to take those cards and play the game with WINNING ultimately the goal. Beat this thing! Kick cancer’s back-side! That is what we all hope to see in her future.
There’s so much you can’t do … for example, you can’t wave a magic wand and make this go away. You can’t wish it or will it away. No matter how angry you get, you cannot change the fact that she has this rare form of cancer in her intestines and abdominal area. As much as we say we hate this, it does not make it go away. It’s here, and all we can do is help her and love her through this.
I told my husband this weekend to stop focusing on what he CAN’T do. Shift your focus to what you CAN do!
“You do not possess the power to heal your mother,” I told him. If we possessed that kind of power, no one would ever suffer or go through anything ever again. We’d simply reach out and touch our mothers, fathers, and other family members to heal them from the tops of their heads to the soles of their feet. Ah, but that is not our place, and we do not possess those powers. Father God does, though, and so we pray with all our might for our family and friends. We know God hears our prayers, and we hope it will be His will to heal them on this earth.
Since we are not guaranteed a miracle or a healing touch from God, what we CAN do is support her, love her, and be there for her. We can take her food we fix in hopes that she will have an appetite and feel like eating it. We can go around looking for comfort items she may need, and we can place orders like the one I placed earlier today.
Walking around moping about it will NOT change what she is going through. She’s facing one of the biggest battles of her life. But, she is not alone. She has all of us and GOD on her side.
My husband started taking a little trip down Guilt Lane, which also does no good at all. Shortly after her diagnosis, he started thinking of all the missed birthdays and occasions when he should have remembered to call or visit but didn’t. Beating oneself up will NOT change what she is facing, though. I told him to go easy on himself. He can’t go back and change the past, but what he can do from this day forward is spend quality time with his mom when he is able and when she feels up to it.
Human beings are so quick to jump on the Pity Train and go right on down Guilt Lane. We beat ourselves up so badly with all the “shoulda, coulda, wouldas” we come up with. It is all non productive!
Focus on what you CAN do at this stage of the game. Take back your power and stand tall. She needs us to be strong when she is feeling weak.
And so we move ahead, unsure of what the future holds … but having complete faith in the One who holds the future.
When I saw the movie Caged No More, I had no way of knowing the serious content this movie would bring to light. While I knew the movie was brought to us by the co-producers of God’s Not Dead and knew it would be moving, it wasn’t until the plot began to unfold that I realized this wasn’t just a movie. No, it happens every day – whether we like to think of the possibility of it or not. It’s out there; sex-trafficking.
I have two precious daughters that, due to their age and limited exposure to the world, think everyone is honest, true, and would not harm a hair on their head. That couldn’t be further from the truth in this cruel world. I’ve talked with them about how just because we’re good people does not mean that everyone around us is nor do they always have the best of intentions toward us. I’m honestly not trying to scare them or make them leery of everyone they come in contact with, but they need to know the dangers that are lurking in the dark shadows of this cold world. They are so innocent at this point in their lives, yet some where someone is seeking to harm young girls just like my daughters. This movie hit so close to home because I DO have two beautiful daughters who are my heart and soul, and I try with all my might to shelter and protect them.
In this movie, two young girls are taken and sold into sex-trafficking. The thought of it is purely sickening, yet the reality is this is someone’s life! How horrible to think of what they are enduring in dingy living spaces, dimly lit with hands of strangers touching their bodies violating them. Oh, dear God! Their innocence – stolen!
Several of my blogging friends have mentioned sex-trafficking on their blogs, in their Facebook messages, etc. in an effort to bring this topic that is only whispered about out into board daylight. It isn’t someone else’s problem. It’s OUR problem as a whole. We shouldn’t rest until every person that was forced into this form of slavery is freed!
Help us break the silence!
There are innocent victims that need you to be their voice. Help free them. You may think it doesn’t matter, you may not feel you have a big following to make this plea to, but every one that gets to talking HELPS bring light to this often avoided topic of conversation. We need your help, and we need you to be their voice.
If you haven’t seen the movie, I encourage you to stop into your local Family Christian and pick up a copy. Don’t let that be the only thing that you do, though. Remember, it isn’t “just” a movie. It is someone’s life!
Time is marching on way too fast. Regrets? You don’t want to have any. So, take my advice and just DO it! Yes, you read that right. Take that family vacation that you’ve been putting off because you have bills to pay. Those bills do need to be a priority, but so does your family. I’m not saying take an extravagant trip that you can’t afford or that you’ll be paying off on your credit card for years. What I AM saying is just do it. MAKE time for your family. Take a day trip to the beach and watch your children run through the water at the edge of the sandy shore. Soak in all of their laughter as they splash and play. Allow your spirit to be free and soar right along with theirs. Enjoy the moment. Just DO it!
Listen up, parents. I’m sure no one has to tell you that your children are growing up way too fast. At times when they are having trouble potty training or sleeping through the night, you may wish they were older and past that stage. Stop yourself if you can. Don’t wish their baby and toddler years away. Don’t rush them to grow up either. Before you know it, you will blink your eyes, and they will be walking down the aisle with a cap and gown on GRADUATING! Trust me. I KNOW! This just happened to me May 22, 2015 when my darling daughter was a newborn JUST the day before, and I blinked … and she walked across the stage in that royal blue cap and gown with the blue and white tassel hanging from her cap as she glowed – GLOWED, I want you to know – as we clapped and cheered for her great accomplishment.
It … goes … way … too … fast!
There is such an urgency I feel within my heart to tell you to do it NOW while you can. While your babies still want you around. When they want you to run in the yard acting like you’re fairies or better yet, like you’re in the Hunger Games. RUN … PLAY … SPEND PRECIOUS TIME WITH THEM!
So they want to jump on your back, but you’re sooooo tired from the day’s work. LET THEM! Bend down and let them ride on your back across the yard. Hear their laughter in your ears, but let it flow right straight to your heart. Allow THAT to soak in, and you’ll see that a tired back is nothing compared to the memories you JUST made with your son or daughter.
Just DO it, people!
Years later when you look back on the pictures … relive the memories … or hear your children tell stories of their childhood to their own children … you’ll be so glad you took the time!
Back in April of this year I went on a mad search on a country website looking for farm animals. I developed an obsession, okay?! At least I’m honest! I just had an accident on a green horse (meaning one that was not suitable for a rider, yet the owner was not honest with us about this fact until after the accident!), and I was unable to ride for a while. I would still go outside and love on the horses we have, but I was watching my family live my dream of owning and riding horses! They were getting to enjoy the way it felt to get on the back of a horse and let all of your cares fly away as you were free under the vast sky on one of God’s greatest creations: a horse! Until I was able to ride again, I set my sights upon a little dwarf goat.
Oh, he was the prettiest little thing having just been born. Instantly when I saw his picture, I knew I had to have him!
He was three hours from us, but the miles between us meant nothing to me. He had to be mine, and so we drove those three hours, my family and I, to meet the little goat. Considering that I was taking both of my children with me, I knew that I would not leave there with ONE goat but more than likely two.
And … we did!
While the little gray goat wrapped my oldest daughter all the way around his little hoof, my youngest daughter begged and pleaded for a little black and white goat that was tugging at her heart strings that day!
Tony and Angel were a sweet little pair of pygmy goats. These baby goats filled my daughters’ arms as each picked up their chosen and immediately began loving on them. It didn’t take long before these little goats filled their hearts with such joy, happiness, and love.
The drive home (remember … three whole hours) was filled initially with lots of volume from the goats as they were being separated from their mother. We forgot the earplugs, too! But alas, we suffered through it and thankfully they settled down about halfway home. ~Whew~
When we arrived at home, we got them all settled in and poured the love over them even more so. The girls would have stayed out there forever if we would have let them, but they needed to sleep some time!
These little baby goats required milk at first, and nothing is sweeter than bottle feeding a baby goat! They were absolutely adorable! But, it didn’t take long before they no longer needed bottle feeding and were able to eat … everything … in … sight!
If you’ve never been around the little pygmy goats, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you start early with handling them, they will sit in your lap just like a dog or cat. They will follow you around, affectionately calling out “Ma … Ma …” after you. So many times my daughters sat outside holding and cuddling with their little baby goats.
At others times, they would run through the yard with the goats closely behind them kicking their heels and bucking ever so often as they ran. They were frolicking and playing just like my daughters!
Tony was the cuddle bug out of the two. He would let you hold him like a baby, although on occasions he would yell a very loud, “MA!” which would send my girls into a fit of laughter. My oldest daughter loved doing this to Tony. It was hilarious! He wasn’t hurt, and trust me when I say that he was loving every minute of being cradled in our arms. He would tuck his little head under our chins and snuggle as closely as he could to our necks.
I cannot ever call an animal by their given names. I always have to make my own version of their name, which my daughters think is cute in a weird and crazy sort of way, but they’ve grown to love that about me, too! Tony became known as Tone Loc around our house, thanks to me. At other times, he would be referred to as Tony The Tiger, although he is clearly not a tiger. Don’t ask. lol The only thing I can think of is the cereal commercial where the actual tiger says that Frosted Flakes are “Grrrrrrrrr-eat!” Yea, I know you’re still shaking your head on that one.
Out of all of our animals (all 15 of them … five horses, four dogs, two goats, two rabbits, and two cats … I TOLD you it was a farm! lol), Tony was my oldest daughter’s favorite furry family member. They truly aren’t just animals, they aren’t just our pets either. They are family! We take each one in to our homes and into our hearts, where they stay. There simply is no other way to do it. If you’re going to have any kind of animal, make sure you’re dedicated and devoted to giving it the best life you possibly can as a member of your family.
My daughter would take “selfies” with Tony and post them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Members of the bands that she loves knew Tony by name as she shared his picture with them as well. Tony became famous that way!
Sadly, this past weekend Tony became ill. We noticed that Angel was still roaming around getting into everything and making us laugh as she tried to come inside the house. However, Tony was laying in the sun. We thought, at first, that Tony was just soaking up the sun as it had been so cold here with rain as well, but last weekend it warmed up and was really nice outside. Then we realized that it might be a bit more than that as Tony wasn’t himself at all.
My youngest daughter went out to lay beside Tony and cuddle with him where they both ended up falling asleep. I still tried to explain it away by saying he’s just enjoying the warmth of the sun and the love she’s giving him. In my heart, I wanted to believe that was true.
The next day we were calling the vet to see if there was anything we could do to help Tony. We desperately wanted to help the little guy. The vet was booked that day but gave us several things to do at home to help him. We did just like the vet instructed, and for a brief while it seemed as if Tony might be on the mend. We left to go to a concert only to return to find Tony laying there shivering. We touched Angel to see if she, too, was cold, but she wasn’t. We quickly ran into the house and got a baby blanket to wrap Tony in, and my oldest daughter carried Tony to the house. She sat out there with Tony cradled in her arms, and Tony’s little head tucked under her chin as he always did. Suddenly it was as if he lost control of his little neck and could no longer support it at times.
And she began to cry.
She rocked this little guy, holding him as close as she possibly could with the love between them so apparent to all that witnessed it.
And then my youngest daughter began to cry as well.
We sat out there with Tony until well after midnight. My girls had school the next day, so I told them that they needed to give all of their love to Tony and then get ready for bed as it was well past their bedtime. We couldn’t deny them this time with their beloved Tony, though, as we did not know how things would progress through the night/morning.
I checked on Tony around 1 a.m. before turning in myself, whispering a little prayer as I stroked his little face and looked into his eyes telling Tone Loc that he had to pull through.
We awoke the next morning to the news from my husband that Tony did not make it through the night. Our hearts were broken as tears streamed down our faces.
It was hard to get ready for school and work after news like that.
We did the best we could, but we were all late for work as we had to bury our beloved family member. In the morning fog, my husband made his way out to dig a grave for Tony, complete with a cross as the headstone.
We forced ourselves to focus but ended up giving in to random tears here and there throughout the day. My youngest daughter told her class what happened, and the teacher immediately made a sympathy card complete with a picture my daughter had submitted a few months earlier of her and Tony in the pet contest at school. That was so incredibly sweet of them!
My oldest daughter tried to be so strong and act like her heart really wasn’t broken, only for me to find her later curled up sobbing over the loss of little Tony. She asked me why this had to happen. She said Tony was so young at only ten months old. She said he hadn’t gotten to live really in that short amount of time, and she did not understand why something like this had to happen. There are no words that will soothe and comfort a broken heart; none. I curled up with her and hugged her while doing the only thing I knew to do; pray. I prayed for comfort from God above; for Him to wrap His love around her and comfort as only HE could at a time like this.
What a little goat taught us in the short amount of time he was here on this earth was that it’s all about love. Because it is …
There is no greater gift than the gift of love. It doesn’t matter if it’s love from two legged family members or friends, or whether it’s love from four legged family members. Love speaks to all. I firmly believe that.
Just as my daughter displayed her love for and to Tony throughout the entire time she had him in her life, Tony gave that love back to her as well with every cute little sound he would make and every time he yelled “Ma …” From every nibble as she fed him out of the palm of her hand, to every tug she felt on her heartstrings from the very first day she saw him … He taught us that it’s always been about love.
Hold tightly to the ones that you have in your life. You never know when their time on this earth will be no more. As much as we would like to have our family and friends with us throughout our entire lives, some times that just is not possible. God calls them home – and we never know when our time will come either.
LOVE … all. It’s really that simple.
There’s no time for holding grudges. There’s no time for hatred. Make having peace and love in your heart a priority in your life. Nothing else matters. Not what this person did or what that person said. It is all irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Don’t waste a single minute more holding on to things that you need to let go of.
The only thing that truly matters is time spent with those you love. Don’t cut people out of your life or spend more time focusing on things that should not hold more value for you than your family and friends.
Take time to show those that you have in your life the love you have in your heart for them. Take time to snuggle, to bond, to be close, and just be together.
Take time to show love!
Just as we all did with Tony.
Forever in our hearts … and forever grateful for the time we did have with you, Tone Loc.
In October, we focused our entire 31 days on marriage tips to help build intimacy and a closer connection with your spouse.
Now I’d like to break down a few things that have the potential to ruin a marriage:
*Insecurities – If your spouse suffers from low self esteem, they will have plenty of insecurities. Which will lead us directly into the second item that I’d like to discuss which is …
*Jealousy – If the green eyed monster rears his ugly little head in your marriage or in your relationships, do your best to put him in his place! Show him the door! While a little bit of jealousy is a good thing because it shows that you do care about your spouse and want them to be yours and yours alone, too much jealousy can ruin a marriage! If you become possessive and are easily angered, squash the green eyed monster as fast as you can!
*Lack of Communication – If you can’t wait to call up your friend and tell them everything that is going on within your marriage yet you fail to talk that openly with your spouse, there is a huge problem! If you stone-wall and close your partner out of your heart and will not talk things out with them, nothing will ever be resolved! Don’t shut them out! Instead, take it to God first … pray about it … and then, take it to your spouse! While I’m sure your friends mean well and will offer support, the one you need to be speaking to about all of the problems in your marriage is not your friend but your spouse!
*Trust – If trust has been broken in your marriage, you will have a long road ahead of you. It takes a LOT of time to rebuild and regain trust once it has been lost. Do not lie or keep secrets from your spouse. Also, omitting details is deceitful and a form of betrayal. Be very careful here!
*Assumptions – This is where the lack of communication gets things all out of whack! If you aren’t talking to your spouse, it leaves you with nothing but your thoughts that have gone wild thinking the absolute worst! That is when the devil loves to place doubt and whisper lies in your ear. Pretty soon, you’re making assumptions, then you’re accusing, and no good will ever come of this!
*Pornography – Guard your eyes, your mind, and your heart. If you focus your attention and affections on your spouse, you wouldn’t have time nor the desire to look at such trash! “Be careful little eyes what you see …” It’s not just a cute little song, it’s the truth! You should only long for and desire your spouse! If you are lusting after any one else, you are sinning in your heart and mind against your spouse and against GOD! “Give us clean hands … give us pure hearts, oh Lord!” Again, not just a song, a plea we all need to make and then ensure that we guard what we look at … ask yourself if it’s honoring your spouse. Better yet, think of how you’d feel if your spouse were viewing such things in private while withholding their affections and intimacy from you! You wouldn’t like it one little bit, now would you?
*Flirting – This is where a lot of people don’t have a clear understanding of what flirting truly is. There’s plenty that fall into this category. However, just to be clear … if you stare or look more than a glance at someone, that can be viewed as flirting. If you touch someone playfully on the arm, that can be viewed as flirting. If you laugh and give all of your attention to someone other than your spouse, be careful because you’re on a slippery slope … and this is most definitely flirting!
*Not Having Clear Personal Boundaries – Now this is where we really need to focus! If you have clear personal boundaries, the above will NOT be an issue. You won’t be tempted to go to lunch with a coworker of the opposite sex … alone … to just talk … or laugh … or have a drink after work. This is when you need clear personal boundaries so you aren’t putting your arms around people you don’t know to have your picture taken at their request if you’re out in a group setting or not. If your spouse is within reach, insist that they are in the picture, too! Or simply say no and walk away if they aren’t … because you know in this day and age that your picture will show up on someone’s newsfeed on Facebook. How would your spouse feel if they stumbled upon your picture with another woman or another man? Innocent or not … do not give the appearance of evil.
The above are just a few things that ruin a marriage. What can you do? I’m glad you asked!
*The golden rule truly does still apply:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
A lot of times people simply cannot see themselves until you mirror their actions and behaviors back to them. Then and only then will they have an “Ah ha moment” and begin to see the light and the error of their ways. Some times this is necessary to make them see themselves. I did just that recently, and it sent a very clear message to my spouse and opened his eyes.
*Focus on your spouse. If you’re tempted to look at someone else, turn to your spouse and focus on them, instead. If you’re tempted to think bad thoughts or lustful thoughts of another, turn your thoughts to those of your spouse and all the things you love and enjoy about them. Truth be told, if you were 100% committed to your spouse, this would NOT even be an issue!
*Keep the lines of communication open. Talk, talk, talk … and talk some more!! Do not share anything of an emotional nature exclusively with your friends or coworkers of the opposite sex. Go to your spouse with all things, especially things on an emotional level!
*Do not put yourself into a situation where you will be tempted! If you find yourself there, quickly make your way to the nearest exit! It IS possible to resist temptation! Even Jesus was tempted in the bible, yet He did not give in! Ask yourself what Jesus would do … and ask yourself how your spouse would feel if they found out or consider how YOU would feel if your spouse was doing the same thing you’re considering doing or are currently doing! Ouch! If it would hurt you if your spouse was doing it, you KNOW what you’re doing without a doubt would most certainly hurt your spouse!
Think on that!
We want all marriages to thrive! God ordained your marriage. He put you two together. You committed yourself willingly “til death do us part.” Don’t take that lightly. Be intentional about your marriage! Focus on each other, and there won’t be time for any other to try to weasel their way into your lives!
***Most importantly*** Turn your eyes upon Jesus … get your heart right with God first … your spouse second, and your marriage will be successful.
It is very easy for me to put off little things I want to get done. For some reason, I get this idea in my mind that it will take too long or that I just don’t feel like doing it. That is something that happens to me when I am in a down kind of mood. The ironic thing is that if I push myself just a little and set my sights on one thing to complete that I have been putting off I always realize something; it feels good to have completed a little task.
All those things in my head that tried to convince me not to complete a task are usually never really true. The task usually doesn’t take as long as I think it will. Or, the task is usually not as difficult as I think it is going to be. I never think of that good feeling of accomplishment that I will have when I have completed that task I have been putting off.
Accomplishment can be a wonderful way to help you feel good about yourself and the things around you. The task you finish doesn’t have to be monumental; even something very small can give you that good feeling of accomplishment. Not only can this work for yourself, but you can help others accomplish goals which will give each of you a feeling of accomplishment and togetherness. It is a great way to help someone out of a funk.
Take a look around you. What do you see? Do you stop to notice a lavender sunset? Do you wonder at the beauty of a sunrise on a spring day? Do you notice the different shapes of clouds floating above you? All of these things are God’s artistry in action. Each and every thing on earth is God’s artistry in action; every single thing. That includes you and I.
We are masterpieces of God’s artistry; each of us in our own special way. You may wonder how can we be a masterpiece when some are born with some sort of difficulty. God creates us in a certain way as a start to our canvas. He then gives us the chance to take that canvas, add brush strokes to create ourselves into the masterpiece of our choosing.
In our world here on earth, we treasure masterpieces of art and handle them with utmost care. Yet, we don’t do this with ourselves or those around us much of the time. Should we not consider each and every person and creation of God a masterpiece to treasure and nurture? We have the chance to paint brush strokes on the canvases of others with our words and actions. Should we not take care in what we say and do to others so as to not discolor their masterpiece?
You are a masterpiece. Treasure yourself and those around you as such.
July and August are months that my friend and I struggle to get through every year. You see, I lost my sister, Pamela, on July 9th, 2001. She died a very tragic death, one that still affects our family to this very day. My friend lost his mother a few years later on July 13, 2004. He was his mother’s primary caregiver and was there with her until the very end. The final moments will remain with my friend forever. And then, a little over a year ago, my friend lost his sister, Julia.
We have tried to go on with our lives, but there is a part of us that our loved ones took with them when they left this earth. We have been forever changed and have been impacted by these precious people that have gone too soon.
What do you say when someone is hurting? How do you comfort them in their time of need? How do you reassure them that everything is going to be okay when you have no way to ensure that it will now that their loved ones have passed away?
I find myself at a loss for words each and every year. I don’t want to be so consumed in my grief that I am not “there” for my friend in what they are going through. If my friend needs me, I want to be there for them. I think the hardest part for me is that I want to “do” something to relieve their pain, and there isn’t a single thing in the world that I can do to accomplish this. It’s unobtainable because they do hurt and their pain is real. There truly is nothing that I can say that will be of any comfort to them, and there isn’t anything I can physically do for them to provide peace and understanding. There’s no gift that I could send that will wipe away their tears.
Through the years, the only thing I have found that I can do is pray for them. I know they’re struggling, whether they say the words or not. My heart feels a special connection to their heart, and when they hurt, I hurt, too. It’s as simple as that. So, I pray. I ask God to provide peace and comfort as only He can. When I’m not physically able to wrap my arms around them due to the distance that we live apart, I ask God to wrap His loving arms around my friend, to draw him close and allow my friend to rest his weary head on God’s shoulder for a little while. I ask for peace to come over my friend, peace that could only be provided by our Heavenly Father. I ask for reassurance that my friend is never truly alone, even if he may feel that way at the moment.
I send my thoughts out into the universe, and I allow my heart to speak to my friend’s heart across the miles. That soft whisper during the evening, that’s my heart calling to his to reassure that he is not alone. He is always in my thoughts and in my heart. Miles may separate us, but hearts that truly care are always near.
The only gift I can think to give at a time like this is to let my friend know that I’m present and available should they need to talk about their loved ones or their feelings at this time. I want my friend to know that I’m always here for them no matter what but especially even more so at this time. On their “tender days” I may not call attention to it by announcing that I know what day it is, but I’m present and available, even if it’s just by sending a silly little smiley face in a blank message. That’s me acknowledging them and letting them know that I’m here.
I know my friend is struggling this week, especially. He normally carries the We Care Wednesday series. Today, I’ve taken this on to relieve him of any pressures he may be feeling at this time.
I’d like to challenge you and call you to action today. On this We Care Wednesday, if there is someone that has been on your heart and mind, will you reach out to them today? It doesn’t have to be a detailed email or a long winded phone conversation. It can just be a “thinking of you” call or “You’re in my thoughts” type of message. The point is to let someone know that you care, that you’re present, even if miles away, and available for them. Will you accept the challenge today, especially if it’s someone you haven’t spoken to in a while?
Another challenge is to consider someone that you haven’t spoken to in a while due to a difference of opinion or a conflict that arose a while back. If something caused you two to part ways, would you consider reaching out at this point? There is no guarantee of how it will turn out once you do, but the point is to put forth the effort to let someone know that you care … after that, it is up to them as to what they do with this gift that you’ve given to them. They can accept it wrapped in a beautiful bow of love, or they can turn away and choose to ignore it as the beautiful bouquet of flowers of your heart wilt. We aren’t in control of what happens or how someone will react, we are only in control of reaching out, putting forth that effort to let the other know that we’re thinking of them and that we care, regardless of the circumstances. All you can do is try … that’s all I ask.
If this is too much for you at this time, I understand. Would you, then, reach out to them through your words of prayer to our Heavenly Father? Will you whisper words of love to our Creator and ask for His hand of protection over their lives?
To my friend that is hurting at this time, I’m here sweetie. I’m available at any time if you need or want to talk, and if not, that’s okay, too. I’ll still be here whispering prayers and words of love from my heart to yours reaching across the miles that separate us … today, tomorrow … always.
Do you practice being thoughtful of others? Merriam-Webster defines thoughtful in three ways. The one I want to talk about today is this; “showing concern for the needs of feelings of other people” or their full definition: “given to or chosen or made with heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others <a kind and thoughtful friend>.”
In today’s world it is so very easy to get wrapped up in our own lives that we can lose sight of what is going on with those family and friends that are an important part of our life. There is a wonderful book that I am re-reading to gain some more insight as to how I can be a better person towards others; Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” There is a singular concept that is talked about throughout the book that really hits home with me; we all need to feel important. This doesn’t mean we all have to have a big ego, it just means we all need to know that someone thinks of us and cares about us. I try very hard to live my life within this philosophy and to treat people with kindness, compassion and respect for their feelings.
Being thoughtful towards others is not difficult. It could be just remembering a special day in someone’s life and letting them know that you do remember. It could be stepping aside in a long line at the supermarket to let someone go ahead of you when they have a few items and you have a cart full. It is as easy as holding a door open for someone. All of these things can be considered being thoughtful towards another. Just doing a small thoughtful gesture for someone can brighten someone’s day.
Take a moment today and think of those you care about. What is some thoughtful gesture you could do for them today?
This was supposed to be a part of the We Care Wednesdays segment. Yesterday, Tamela shared an important message regarding the need for everyone to feel loved. Gregory’s message complements it and goes hand in hand with the message that everyone needs to feel important! Therefore, we thought we would share these two back-to-back … We Care Wednesdays and now Thoughtful Thursdays. 🙂 We hope you enjoyed! ~Shirley
I have been thinking lately about my upbringing and the parents who raised me. My father was gone most of the time deployed out at sea somewhere and so it was my mother who primarily raised me. I honestly do not know what it was about me that bothered my mother so but I just didn’t fit into her “ideal” of womanhood (neither size, personality, behavior). I was labeled by my early teens as the “trouble maker” and the one who always talked back. I didn’t see myself as a trouble maker nor did I see myself as someone who had the nerve to talk back to a mother such as mine! But that is how she viewed me and, in the end, it left me feeling unloved and unlovable because my own mother found fault with me, I was imperfect. I had this message so deeply ingrained in me that it took years to truly overcome those messages of old and move into a bright, happy, secure-in-self-love future.
It’s just so sad that some walk this earth feeling as if no one has ever loved them, truly loved them. They have lived existences I cannot recognize and wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Some live in their heads unable to see and feel the love available to them; some just won’t open their eyes to what’s so plainly in from of them. For whatever reason, it seems to me that it’s easier to deny love than it is to accept love. Have we become people who choose to question love instead of openly welcoming it? Have we all somewhere along the lines received the message that we are all defective and not loveable – not deserving of freeing, soul-lifting love??
I was told for many years that my “picker was broken” – meaning that I always chose men who were either not emotionally available or that wanted to use me all the time pretending they loved me – when I was just meeting a need of theirs until they found someone new to use and abuse. I had so little faith and belief in myself that I subjected myself to bad love. I did not know the extent to which I’d taken in the words of my youth, “You are not loveable.” I believed no one would ever love me or truly want me forever in their hearts and the men I dated all seemed to bear out this one simple self-fulfilling prophecy. You see, that’s what it was, a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I took in the messages and words of my youth, I took them in completely and truly felt and believed that I didn’t deserve to take up space or breathe air or receive love because I’d been labeled “bad” and that’s just who I was…bad. “Bad” people don’t deserve love. While love may have been staring me in the face – I’d deny it just to make sure I maintained that “I wasn’t loveable” message. In adulthood, I did not “own” the fact that I could define myself any way I wanted; instead I slipped into the old messages and managed my life in a way so that no one, truly, ever had the chance to try to love me.
For someone to carry the message that you aren’t right for this world, you didn’t deserve to be here, just exist but don’t be noticed, don’t draw attention to oneself – it’s hard moving into the adult years believing that you have a future or that there is goodness and grace down the road, if you are only patient. It’s hard to believe that anything you do is of value or has worth – because if it comes from someone who is worthless, how can their work be worthwhile? I lived the belief that I was unlovable and thus fulfilled my own prophecy by not finding true love till later in life – after I had found my own self-love and discovered that what I’d been told growing up was just a bunch of bunk!
Inside each and every one of us lays a seed, a spark of belief that if nurtured can result in true self-love and when we realize this, we begin the walk away from falsehoods put in our heads at a time when we knew no better. Some of us need to seek professionals to lead us to new thoughts and beliefs – sustainable thoughts and beliefs. Others need to walk the path of self-discovery on their own – uncovering as they are ready the truths that are part of their lives. Some of those truths aren’t so pretty and our tendency is to run instead of confronting them. But hang in there, every obstacle you’ve overcome in your life and every obstacle you will face in life IS NOT insurmountable! Especially when those obstacles are self-created in your own head and not based in the truth of who you truly are!
I beg of you, do not ever allow anyone but yourself to define who you are, what you stand for, what you believe in, what you deserve. God did not create us to live in fear and pain and the knowledge that we aren’t good enough. We are all good enough and deserve to be loved as we want to be loved. It’s worth holding out until you find that unconditional love you may not have yet received in your life – your OWN unconditional love. Until or unless you love yourself fully, take care of you fully, allow yourself to be loved fully – until you stop fighting the messages in your head – you will live in the place of fear and the sad knowledge that you “don’t deserve love.” We ALL deserve love; some are just harder to love than others!
Today I let others have their opinion of me because trying to change another’s mind is seriously not my task to do today. Today my job is to find self-love, self-acceptance and to be ready and open for the next person I can love and who will love me in return. Today my choice is to not live with old messages that want entrance into my brain to repeat all the negative stuff doled out in my youth. Today I live in the present and deal with what’s in front of me; the rest is up to God and His “staff” of angels. Today it’s my job to trust in the process and that I am being led to my highest good. Today I know I am lovable, not just because I exist but because I know now true love, lasting love, lifetime love. I could not have achieved this place had I not let go of the belief that I was, heart and soul, unlovable.
WE ARE ALL LOVEABLE! Know that. Feel that. Think on that. Breathe that in. It is truth.
We all deserve love!
Part of my own self-love today is recognizing when someone wants to feed me false information about myself – I no longer live on what others think of me. Who I am, what I am today is based on my beliefs today and not of the past. No one can define me but myself and this person, me – today – is lovable and deserving of love. Seek love. Seek the peace that love provides. I keep in mind today that my God is a forgiving God and if God is capable of forgiving me, He’s more than capable of forgiving you and taking away the negative thoughts you’ve carried for too long. Try to give the negativity to God and live a life of belief and love. You can’t live in grace until you’ve released you inner demons.