Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two Letters to My Kyle

Hey friend! 

This is gonna be one of those posts that I write more for me than for you. 

Fair warning.... it's a tissue grabbing, nose blowing, eyes leaking kinda post. 
At least for me. 

I started this one year ago on the sixth anniversary of my Kyle Matthew going home to live with Jesus in heaven. For some reason I never finished it. Hmmm....

So another year has gone by and I feel the need to write another letter to my Kyle.

Today I'm publishing last year's {with minor editing} and today's in one long, but heartfelt post.



Dear Kyle,

It's been six years now since you left. Things have changed more than they've stayed the same.

It still hurts.... but I've learned to live with it. Well, at least most of the time.

One big change that I've just come to realize is I've gotten used to you not being here. I don't mean so much accepted it.... since I did that a while ago. And I still think of you every day. It's just the "new normal" for our family that began six years ago now feels.... normal.

And I'm feeling more anger at times. At you. At me. At me & dad. And with the anger comes guilt, but not as much as at first.

The pain doesn't hit anymore when I see a black Ford F150 or a guy mowing yards. Now it's more of a wistfulness tinged with sadness. Like when I see a man in his early 30's with a family by his side. That could have been you if things were different.

It's still just plain sadness I feel when I see a young man in his twenties with cigarette in hand, baggy pants and a few tattoos walking down the road. Makes me think of you that last day when you walked home that last time. Oh God it breaks my heart once again and I push those memories away as quickly as possible. deep breath

And when I see a mom in Publix with her son tagging along in his shin guards and soccer cleats, obviously after a game or practice, I don't look away any more. I don't deny the wonderful kiddo you were. But, I still don't like to dwell on those sweet memories of your young years (like you playing soccer). They always lead to memories of your teens and then 20's.... most of that time sucked. For all of us. sigh

And I still have mixed emotions when I hear of a friend's son or daughter who is caught up in the viscous bondage of drugs and alcohol. I have no answers to give. I wish I did. Shoot! I didn't have any answers for us. For you. All I can do is tell them I understand, I've lived it, and even with the worst possible outcome I've survived by the grace and faithfulness of God.

I'm teaching Sunday School again. I can finally work with kids without the fear that they will grow up to nothing but heartbreak and ruin. Did you know that your death even effected that aspect of my life?

You would be so very proud of your big brother. He's a full time youth minister.

I'm finding more clarity........



And that's where I ended last year.
I guess I feel pretty much the same way a year later. Although the anger has gone.

So, this year here is what I add to my Kyle letter.

And I write......


Dear Kyle, 

Hey buddy! I still miss you every single day. That's seven years of missing you every day.

Today I got to thinking as I drove to McDonald's to buy me and dad some breakfast....

Oh yea, {a side note} That's become our 11/20 tradition. I take the day off work. We get McD's for breakfast. Then we get pretty flowers (with a blue ribbon and bow) at Sherwood Florist and go to your bench.

Anyways, as I was driving I was thinking about you and trying to hold back a few tears that had already started today. I started wondering, as I've often done these last seven years, if I'd want you back here. And the answer is always the same.

No - I know where you are. I know you're happy and safe now. 

And than this morning I thought - but what if only for five or ten minutes?

And my answer was - Yes.  

I felt kinda selfish about it. I mean heaven is a wonderful place. And to pull you away even for a little while? Just for me? 

Oh my YES! For one more smile. One more hug. To tell you again that I'm sorry. That I love you. That I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always....  

And I think, knowing how much you loved me, that you'd do it. 

But than again, maybe not. Maybe heaven is just too grand and you'd say - "I'll just wait here and meet you at the gate like we always planned."

You know buddy, last night I thought this day wouldn't be so hard. Yet, here it is and it's still so very hard. I can't believe it's been seven years since that horrible day. And than I think how it's been seven years that you're in heaven with Jesus. And that brings this mommy's heart some joy. Even today. 

Dad is having his own struggles with trying not to remember that day. He was so strong and brave. 

TJ & Amber are living in TX now. Yee Ha!!! They miss you more than you know. 

Mema will visit your bench later today. She will probably leave flowers and a card with a PS to tell Papa hello for her. 

That's life here on earth. It goes on with our broken hearts and hanging onto the good memories. I can't help but tell others every chance I get that the only way we've gotten through these last seven years is that God is forever faithful. He has held us when we had no strength {or sometimes no desire} to hang on ourselves. 

Well, this is getting pretty darn long. I know you prefer the "Reader's Digest" version and getting to the bottom line. *wink*

 So buddy, I'm seven years closer to seeing you and getting a Kyle {{HUG}}. Can't wait. 

Love you bunches, 
Mom


Well, friend that kinda felt good. I guess, at least for me, writing can be a form of therapy. Now, to fix my runny mascara and get ready to go get the flowers with the blue ribbon and then go to Kyle's bench. 





PS - As I re-read this once more before hitting that "Publish" button, I think maybe there's been some healing this past year. God is good and never let's me go.

Love ya!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What Do You See?

Hi friend!

Let's play a little game shall we?

What do you see?




Maybe you're thinking - "Nothing much" 
{sure hope you're not thinking  - "dumb game"}

Just a humble wheat field, kinda simple, plain even .....

.... or is it?


What do I see?

I see ...... beauty.....

.... the beauty of the wheat that will help feed hungry bellies.
.... the beauty of God's creation.
.... the beauty of the sun and it's rays painting the wheat a golden hue.


Now, take another look -


What do you see?




Surprise! This is actually the entire photo. {found on Photobucket}


So yea, I was a bit sneaky and at first only showed you part of the picture.  Gotcha! *wink*

Something about that solitary flower sticking it's head up speaks to me - 

It's brave and strong. 

It's all alone in that huge field and yet that's the beauty of it. There's beauty in it's uniqueness and simplicity.

Yes, the sunset is magnificent, the wheat field expansive, but that little flower is inspiring. 


"Blessed are they who see beautiful things
 in humble places 
where other people see nothing."
Camille Pissarro


The lesson from this sneaky fun game is this: Let's not disregard the simple and humble, and by doing so miss out on the true beauty that is all around us.

So friend, lets' try looking at the whole picture this week and see all the beautiful things God puts in view.



Linking up today with Barbie for some
Weekend Brew
over at her place in bloggy land -
My Freshly Brewed Live.
Why don't you hop over there
for a visit?




 Oh and I'd love for you to share with me your thoughts on finding beauty in unexpected places.


Love ya,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five Minute Friday Fun: Change

Hi friend!

What day is it?
It's Friday!

And what does that mean?
It's time to party and have us some 5 Minute Friday fun! 

The party is at Kate's place in blog land. It's a linky party / blogger flash mob / free writing exercise. Whatever you want to call it, I say it's just plain FUN - blog land style.

Everyone spends five minutes writing on the same topic. If they have a blog, they link up to Kate's post.

No blog? No problem! Just leave your five minutes of writing in the comments section.

The truly fun part is that you write with freedom. There's no emphasis on grammar or spelling. Punctuation is also worry free {yay! 'cause I love me a bunch of commas when I write}. Pretty much the only "rule" is that you visit the blog of the person who linked up before you and leave some encouragement. 

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!

CHANGE

I've been fretting and planning and wanting - CHANGE.

Like in tearing down a wall.....
and putting up a half wall.....
and how about some bead board in the bathrooms....
and changing the paint colors in a couple of rooms...

And one change leads to another in the next room. And so on. And so on.
Until I want to practically change something in every room in the house.
Oh and don't even ask about my plans for changes on the back porch.

I think this gal watches way too much HGTV and DIY. {hubby agrees}

Honestly, I know we don't have the time, money or tools or know-how to make most of these changes.

And to be a little more honest and real about all of this wanting change the last few months....
well, I've been pretty discontent with what I do have.

So, friend, I've decided a change is in order.

But, not in my home..... in my attitude.
I've started to look around my comfortable home and ask the Lord to help me be content.

And I'm finding thankfulness is the beginning of contentment. 

and STOP!



~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


Love ya, 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Keeping the Faith

Hi friend! 

I made you something using a quote that was in this morning's sermon notes ~




That sure says a lot doesn't it? 

It applies to all and any difficulty you may be facing right now.

Many years ago, as I was struggling though a very hard time, I found much strength and encouragement through what has become one of my favorite Bible passages - Isaiah 40:28-31. 

Today I couldn't help but think of those precious promises while reading the above quote. 

I'm sitting here typing and wondering something -
"How are you doing friend?"

I know a few of you are going through a difficult time. You struggle. You wonder if you'll ever make it through this one. 

If we were sitting together right now, discussing our struggles { I struggle, too }, with our iced coffee  
{ my drink of choice } or tea or coke in hand, this is what I'd say to you ~


"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak."
(Isaiah 40:28-29)
 


So dear one, let's decide together that ~
Today we're keeping the faith because He is greater than  _____________ ! 
{ fill in the blank with anything you want, and yes, He is greater than even that! }

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


TODAY...

I'm linking up with Barbie for her  Weekend Brew













AND...

on Wednesday over at Holley's for some Coffee for Your Heart



  
Love ya,

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Everything Beautiful in its Time

Hey there friend!

When I read the following quote in our sermon notes this morning I knew right away
that I wanted to share it with you.

"One day, someone is going to hold you so tight, 
that all of your broken pieces will stick back together."


photo found on Photobucket

When I read it, it literally brought a tear to my eye and a sad but knowing smile to my heart.

I know that events in life sure can make you feel like you've been broken into a million pieces.

Whether it's caused by something-
- physical from sickness, accident or disease
- or emotional from grief, depression or stress
life sometimes can feel like it's almost more than we can bear and we get broken.

In my notes this morning, I changed the small "s" to a capital "S" in the word someone. Because there is Someone who truly is able to hold me so tight it's like the pieces of my broken heart feel like they're put back together.

How do I know? Because that's what Jesus has done for me. 

When my son died it felt like my heart was smashed into a million pieces. But, over time as I've trusted the One who is forever faithful and totally sovereign, my broken heart has been mended.

Of course like a vase that was once shattered and glued back together there are chips, scars and a few missing pieces.  

But, as I'm held tight, hopefully two things are true -
the scars are a testament of God's grace and faithfulness
and His light shines through the empty places that are left in my heart.

Oh friend I so want you to know that there truly is Someone who loves YOU!
And He wants to hold you so your broken pieces stick back together.


 "He has made everything beautiful in it's time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11



 Today I'm ->





* Linking up over at 
Barbie's place in bloggy land 
for some  Weekend Brew







 and Praising the One who holds my heart!

Love ya, 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Monday Morning ~ Singing in Sunshine

Hi friend!!!


Happy Monday Morning! 

This morning as I stepped out on my back porch the sun was just coming up. Not even over the tree tops yet. But, I could hear the birds already singing their welcome to this brand new day. A new day - filled with hope and anticipation.



photo found on Photobucket

"Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, 
casts the shadow of our burden behind us."
~ Samuel Smiles



I loved this quote from the first time I read it and can see such truth in it. However, I think it's truth depends on what we put our hope in.

Life? Fate? The stars?  Oh please. No way.
Our spouse? Our friends? Others will always disappoint at some point. {shoot, sometimes I disappoint myself}

So than, what or who?

For me it has to be Jesus.

He is my hope. 

And when I look at (put my hope in) Him -
than His glory, greatness and wonderful promises for my life 
cast the shadows of my problems, fears and yuck {such a spiritual word} behind me. 

If they're behind me, I don't even see them. I'm free from their pain and pressure.

So as each new day dawns I put my hope in Him and I'm free to sing.

Sing His praises as I look forward to a new day with joy and anticipation.


"Because you are my helper, 
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings."
Psalm 63:7


Sing with hope. Sing for joy. And Happy Monday Morning dear friend.

* today I've linked up with Barbie at  "My Freshly Brewed Life" for some Weekend Brew {yes, I know the weekend is over... but, not really for me since I have Mondays off}

Love ya, 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Five Minute Friday Fun: Hands

Hi friend!

What day is it? It's five minute Friday! Well at least in blog land it is.

Every Friday for over four years writers have gathered over at Lisa-Jo's place in blog land for something she calls 5 Minute Friday. It's a linky party / blogger flash mob / free writing exercise. Whatever you want to call it, I say it's just plain fun - blog land style.

Everyone spends five minutes writing on the same topic. If they have a blog, they link up to Lisa-Jo's post on that week's topic. No blog? No problem! Just leave your five minutes of writing in the comments section at Lisa Jo's place. 

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!

HANDS

Photobucket - moodymomma1977

So many times, when I see an elderly person's hands, I wonder.....
What have those hands "seen"?

How many times did he take her hand and lead her to dance? Only on their wedding day? Or were there dances in the kitchen as supper cooked?

How many times did they change a baby's diapers?
How many times did those hands bandage skinned knees?
Pat a baby's back to coax a burp?

What did those hands build, knit, paint, plant, sew.....?

Were they hands seen as love .....
.... by the children,
.... by a stranger,
.... by the other driver? {oopsie! watch those hand gestures}

How many tears did they wipe away?
How many runny noses did they wipe?

Paper cuts, blisters, arthritis, scars.... each tell another line of the story. 

How many times, with a gentle touch did they convey.... sympathy, love, hope, encouragement? 

Were they used to hit, shove, poke? 

How many times did they wave hello? ..... wave goodbye?

What is the story of those hands?
Hands who's story tells so much about the person they belong to.


and STOP!



Five Minute Friday
Today's post topic is: HANDS

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


Love ya, 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy Monday Morning! ~ Rear View Mirror

Hi friend!!!


Happy Monday Morning! 

photo via Photobucket


"Faith, 
I've concluded, 
means believing in advance 
what will only make sense in reverse."
Philip Yancey

I love this quote because it made me stop and think the first time I read it. 
And I knew right away that it was one I wanted to share with you.

I hold onto the knowledge that one day, when I get to heaven, it will ALL make sense.
And I bet half of it that matters so much down here won't even matter once I'm in the presences of my Jesus.

So hang in there friend. Hold onto God's promises. Know that it may not make sense now, but God is truly in control. Hopefully someday, when you look back, it will be as clear as looking in your rear view mirror.

Love ya, 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Monday Morning! ~ Can You See It?

Hi friend!!!


Happy Monday Morning! 




Do you believe it friend? That you're beautiful? I believe it.

Look around at all of creation. Come on now. Take just a minute. Stop and see.

Beautiful sunsets making the clouds burst with color.
Stars almost seeming to dance as they twinkle in the night sky.
The colors and intricacies found in every flower's design.
The majesty of a rainbow arcing across the sky.

All beautiful.
All created by God.

And so are you, friend. 
You are a beautiful creation of God. 
And He's crazy in love with you.



Love ya, 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Monday Morning! ~ I Dare You.......

Hi friend!!!


Happy Monday Morning! 

photo via photobucket (snide2004)

"Faith is a 
living, daring confidence 
in God's grace."
~ Martin Luther


When you're full of worry and consumed by fear it feels like you're ....
..... standing on a cliff's ledge with no where to go as you peer at the raging river far below.
..... in the middle of a very high bridge on a windy day with absolutely no end in sight.
..... on a dock in the middle of a lake and the water looks dark, cold and who knows how deep. 

Today I'm daring you to take a leap.....
..... jump off that ledge of fear.
..... keep going until you get to the other end.
..... don't just stand there - dive in!

Take a leap of faith. 

Let your faith be daring and even reckless in the confidence of God's goodness, love and faithfulness.

Know that He is big enough to catch you.

So go ahead.... I dare you. Let your faith come alive.

Ready? 
Set?  
Go!

"God is a safe place to hide,  
ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,  
courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,  
the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,  
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us."
 Psalm 46: 1-3
Now JUMP!

Love ya,  

Friday, March 14, 2014

5 Minute Friday Fun: Crowd

Hi friend!

What day is it? It's five-minute-Friday! Well at least in blog land it is.

Every Friday for over four years, writers have gathered over at Lisa-Jo's place in blog land for something she calls 5 Minute Friday. It's a linky party / blogger flash mob / free writing exercise. Whatever you want to call it, I say it's just plain fun - blog land style.

Everyone spends just five minutes writing on the same topic. If they have a blog, they link up to Lisa-Jo's post on that week's topic. No blog? No problem! Just leave your five minutes of writing in the comments section at Lisa Jo's place. 

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!

CROWD

It was so crowded that Wednesday evening at church. My T.J. had traveled the hour and a half from college to come speak to the youth.

After the service I made my way through the crowded hallway to the youth chapel. Fighting against the flow of youth exiting I looked for my son. He's 6'3" so he's always easy to spot in a crowd.

Ah! There's my boy!

He was up front talking with a few friends.

I'll never forget him turning and spotting me. He simply stood there, grinned and spread his arms open wide.

Oh yea! He knows him mom. {{HUGS}} is what I love. And if they're from either of my sons I love it better than chocolate.

I remember telling him I was sorry I interrupted his conversation with his friends. He said not to worry. He was waiting for me to find him. He knew I'd come looking for him before I headed home and he headed back to the dorm.

Even in the crowd ...... I was drawn to him and he was waiting for me.

I wonder how crowded heaven will be when I finally get there.

I'll be looking for Jesus. And I do believe when He sees I'm there - He'll smile and open His arms wide.

Oh yea! He knows His daughter and how much I love {{HUGS}}.


and STOP!

Five Minute Friday

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
So friend - what do you prefer?
Chocolate?
or
{{HUGS}}?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Good Stuff

Hi there friend!

I'm in a fun and lighthearted mood today. Enjoying the weekend and beautiful weather. Hope you are having a good weekend as well.

Recently, I had an A-ha! moment that I've been wanting to share with you. And since I'm in this great mood, I've been able to relate it to yummy sweet stuff. Or maybe it's because I just ate a dark chocolate candy bar.

Yep! The whole thing.
All by myself. {Don't judge.... makes Jesus sad when we judge others.}

So, moving right along here......


My wise words to you today are -
 "Don't overlook the good stuff by skipping to the dessert."


photo by Abbey_SarahDouglass via photobucket

 

Pop quiz -  
What is the first thing you turn to on a restaurant's menu?
Appetizers?
Drinks?
Prices?
Burgers?
Desserts?

Nine times out of ten I turn right to the dessert menu. And I've done this for as long as I can remember. I bet before I could even read I'd look at the menu's pictures of ice cream sundaes, cupcakes and pies.

Well, my recent A-ha! moment didn't come in a restaurant while drooling over looking at the dessert menu. It came while reading a Bible verse someone shared on Facebook.


"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. 
They are plans for good and not for evil, 
to give you a future and a hope." 
Jeremiah 29:11(TLB)

I love this verse. I've read it like a million times. It's very encouraging and filled with hope and God's love for me. 

However, as I read it this time, I realized I had pretty much skipped over the first sentence.
  
Once again I went right to the yummy stuff - "dessert". Yay!
As in the the yummy goodness of things to prosper me, give a future and a hope.  
And the promise of no bad stuff - "vegetables". 
No yucky bad things to harm or evil to overcome me. 

But, then I reread that first sentence - the main menu so to speak.  
That was the truly nourishing part to my spirit. The meat and potatoes portion.

You see friend, there's a situation with some dear ones in our life that we're praying for the Lord to reveal His will and plan. I had been praying for Him to figure out a plan to help them out. I wanted to know what He was going to decide would be the best plan to prosper, bring hope, and bless their future with good. 

But then there was the A-ha!
Followed by a Wait just a minute here!

And a little light bulb went off over my head - God already has a plan. 

He's not trying to figure one out.
He already knows.

He's not waiting to see what happens next week.
The plan is already done.

And He doesn't have to decide on the best scenario.
Nope, He already knows any possible scenario and has it all planned out.

He's not worried about the deadlines.
He has the plan ready to meet any deadline that is coming up. 

And guess what?!  I went from A-ha! to Ahhhhhh!
I just relaxed, smiled and was filled with peace.
No need for trying to figure out what God's plan is.
No worrying He won't have it all in place and ready on time.

Because  God already has a plan.

So now whenever I read this verse, I'll read the whole thing and not skip the good stuff to get to the dessert. 

Ahhhhhh!
 
Photo by ~ Hubby /  Wall hanging by ~ me

 
Relaxing, eating chocolate and enjoying life here in sunny Florida .... knowing He has His plan set and ready. 


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I love linky parties in bloggy land!

Today I'm linking up over at   
My Freshly Brewed Life 
for The Weekend Brew






Love ya,

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On The Hard Days Remember - You Matter {Coffee For Your Heart}

Hey there friend!



inspirationlifequotes.com



I realize that when you're having a hard day you might not care about having your life tell a great story. Maybe you just want to get home, lock the door, (hopefully) feed the dog, eat ice cream for dinner and go to bed.

Well, like it or not, our lives do tell our story. Even on the bad days.

So go ahead - go home and eat a whole carton of moose tracks ice cream for dinner. {I mean if that's your thing after a really bad day - go for it.}

But, don't give up.

You see friend - you matter.
{Did you see there that I bolded, italicized and underlined those two words? Just wanted to make sure you don't miss them.}

And your life's story matters. So don't you quit.

I believe that even on the hard days you can touch someone else's life. Yes, you can make a difference.

Maybe all you've got to give is a knowing and compassionate smile for that young mom. The one with two kids and a crying baby who was in line behind you when you stopped on your way home to buy that carton of ice cream. She needed a smile. Everyone else seemed to be looking at her with a frown and questioning eyes that ask why her kids are misbehaving. And can't she make the baby stop that screaming?! Did you know that your kind and uncondemning smile helped ease some of her tension and helped her not feel so alone?

You matter.

And what about the elderly neighbor who met you at the mailbox when you finally got home. You really didn't want to bother with anyone. But, you took a moment to listen. To tell him you'd be praying for him. It was just a moment in your hard day {as your ice cream was beginning to melt}. But, it meant the world to him.

You matter. 

Are you seeing it now?
Even in the small and seemingly inconsequential moments of your day you touch others around you in a way only you can do.

And it matters. It's a beautiful part of your story. Yes, beauty even on those hard days.

So friend, at the end of your hard day know......
..... that you lived it well.
..... you didn't quit.
..... your life's story is going to be great.

And never, ever forget that you matter.


 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

* I'm linking up with Holley Gerth's  Coffee for Your Heart  link-up series on Wednesdays


* Today's prompt is -  
What are the encouraging words 
you want to hear when 
you're having a bad day?
 




Love ya, 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Happy Monday Morning! ~ God's Love

Hi friend!!!


Happy Monday Morning!

Edmond Fireworks photo by Dusty Evan {photobucket.com}


"God’s love is meteoric,
    His loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
    His verdicts oceanic.
Yet in His largeness
    nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
    slips through the cracks."



Oh how I love this version of Psalm 36:5 from The Message.

So here ya go friend! Some fireworks to start your week. 

Get up and get a going - 
because with a love like this I know you can face the day {even if it is another Monday}.

Love ya,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hey Sweet Friend {Coffee For Your Heart}

Hi friend!

Do you ever feel alone? Even in the middle of a group of people?
Yea, me too. I think we all do at some point.

Sometimes it's brought on by actual circumstances in our life. Sometimes we isolate ourselves for whatever reason.

There are a few ladies in my life who need some encouragement and need to be told:   
YOU ARE NOT ALONE

So why don't you get comfy and go grab a cup of coffee or mug of hot chocolate or tea cup with your favorite tea. I'm thinking something warm today because most of the country is having some really cold weather. Brrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Ok, all set then? Let's chat.


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


"The most terrible poverty is loneliness, 
and the feeling of being unloved." 
~ Mother Teresa


photo by johnso2014 found on photobucket


Hey sweet friend....yea you.
The one feeling like you're drowning in responsibilities with no idea how you can keep it up for much longer. I know you're feeling so alone, and unsure, and totally overwhelmed. Please take the help that's offered to you. There are many who care and want to help. They won't think less of you for needing help.

You are not alone. And I pray that you will feel Jesus beside you. That you will experience His peace that passes all understanding.

"When you go through deep waters and great trouble, 
I will be with you. 
When you go through rivers of difficulty, 
you will not drown! 
When you walk through the fire of oppression, 
you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you."
Isaiah 43:2 (TLB)


Hey sweet friend.... I see you, too.
You didn't plan on raising the kiddos alone. The move to the new house was a step closer to what you believed was your happily ever after. But, then the lies, the hurt and tears. And now you are left alone in your dream house with dreams that have been smashed.  But, I've also seen how strong and passionate you are. And oh my, such a fighter for what you believe is right.

You are not alone. I'm praying that you will be given strength and wisdom. I pray you will have courage and not become bitter.


"But those who trust the Lord
    will find new strength.
They will be strong like eagles
    soaring upward on wings;
they will walk and run
    without getting tired."
Isaiah 40:31
 

Hey sweet friend.... my heart breaks for you.
I understand your pain. It hurts soooo bad to lose someone you love soooo much. And now sometimes the loneliness from missing them is so great. It doesn't feel right or real. Nights are the hardest when no one else is there and you're home alone.

You are not alone. God is close. He sees your tears and knows your pain.

"He heals the brokenhearted 
and binds up their wounds 
[curing their pains and their sorrows]."
Psalm 147:3 (AMP)


Hey sweet friend.... I haven't forgotten you.
You are such a remarkable woman. You are full of grace and compassion. You pour your heart and soul into your family's lives. You are always telling others that Jesus loves them. But, it can be lonely always being the leader, the strong one, the encourager and cheerleader. Sometimes you just want someone to encourage you. To tell you it will be all right. I know that your faith is strong and you already know it. It's just that it would be nice to have someone take your hand, look you in the eyes and say it.

You are not alone. It will be ok. God has a purpose and a plan. And it's a great plan. He is pleased with you, His dear and beloved daughter.

"Do not be afraid—I am with you!
    I am your God—let nothing terrify you!
I will make you strong and help you;
    I will protect you and save you."
Isaiah 41:10 

Hey sweet friend.... yea, you right there reading this.
Maybe your circumstances are different than those I just shared. Or maybe you can relate to one of them. Either way, I know there are times when you feel alone - left out, abandoned, not understood. I've been there, too.


Hey sweet friend - YOU. Are not. Alone.

I cannot solve your problems or heal your heart, but I know the One who can.
And I'd be honored to pray for you.

I'd love for you to leave me a comment.
Or, if you'd prefer, an email at findinghopeandjoy@gmail.com.


"You find families for those who are lonely." 
 Psalm 68:6



~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
One last thing - last week, as I was thinking on what to share today and how to encourage you, I read a post over at (in)courage and when I was done I just knew I had to share the links with you.  It's just one more way for you to connect with others, be encouraged and maybe not feel so alone. If you haven't heard of (in)courage you're missing out. It's a wonderful online community of women who love to encourage, help and minister to other women.


http://www.incourage.me


Hey sweet friend -
could you do me a favor
and take a minute to check it out?

Just click on the graphic right there on the left.






If you want to get connected to some great ladies with similar interests, hurts or challenges click HERE for information on their Community Groups. (This is the blog post I read last week.)


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

* I'm linking up with Holley Gerth's  Coffee for Your Heart  link-up series on Wednesdays



* Today's prompt is - You are not alone 
Click HERE to see what the other wonderful ladies, 
with hearts full of love and a cup of coffee in hand, 
have to say to encourage you today.



Love ya, 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My One Word for 2014 ~ Balance

Hey there friend!

These past few years I never seem to know what One Word I'll choose, or maybe more accurately, will choose me until sometime in December. However, I was beginning to think I'd just skip this little bloggy land tradition in 2014. You see this year it wasn't until January 1st that I knew.

I had been considering and praying about a few words, but none seemed to fit.

~ Focus was the first word I considered. But no, I get too focused sometimes and neglect all else. Just ask hubby how many times I've focused on my quilting and 30 minutes before our normal dinner time ask him if he'd mind cooking. Which translated means "please go get Publix subs or something from McDonald's".

~ Create was another word considered. Ummmm  noooo, probably not a good idea. You know - because of that whole over focusing thing when I get to creating quilts and pillows and totes. Oh my!

~ Dream was very briefly considered. However, I'm a planner and a list-checker-offer. Definitely not much of a dreamer.

And then on January 1st it all made perfect sense. Whooo Hooo!  I get so excited when my word finds me.


My One Word 2014 is BALANCE


photo by 123_SMILE__ (photobucket.com)

 
 Balance:
A situation in which 
different aspects or features 
are treated equally 
or exist in the correct relationship 
to each other.



That's the perfect definition to go along with what I was thinking balance should mean in my life this year. Also, something I think is interesting is that my One Word can be used as a noun or a verb. I want there to be balance {noun} in my life by balancing {verb} my time and priorities. Pretty cool!


What happened on 01/01/14 that caused me to know this was the word for me?

Well, it was a day filled with ....
..... quite time with Jesus.
When I neglect this my days don't seem right. Like kinda out of balance. And it happens more often than I'd like to admit. But I'm working on it.  
..... family. 
Hubby and I had a relaxing morning together. And we had mom over for dinner.
..... friends. 
A dear friend I hadn't seen in a few years stopped by. So nice to catch up and reminisce.
..... creating. 
I spent just a little bit of time finishing up a small quilting project.
..... organizing. 
I love when things are cleaned and organized. The mess on the desk was my project and I conquered the mess. 
..... planning. 
It was the second week in a row I had off work on a Wednesday. It felt good to plan out the rest of my odd week. {unless you are a true planner and list-checker-offer you will not understand}

It was such a wonderful day! Balanced in every way. I mean there was even a great cup of flavored mocha & caramel coffee in the morning and in the evening some ice cream cake after dinner.

Yep!  I'd say that's totally balanced. 

Love ya,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy Monday Morning! ~ Overwhelmed

Hi friend!!!


Happy Monday Morning!
 
Photo by ~ Sandcastle in the Sun, FL

"When who Jesus is overwhelms you - 
nothing that happens can overcome you." 
~ Ann Voskamp


I can just imagine standing there in the Gulf of Mexico as the sun sets. 
Wow! How glorious to see God's handiwork. 

It looks like the person in this picture is right smack in the middle of it all. I wonder what they're thinking.

Are they overwhelmed by the beauty?  
I know I would be.

And it's reassuring at the same time.
To think that the God, who can create such beauty, can certainly create whatever it is I may need today - peace, confidence, joy, wisdom, strength, hope, to feel loved......

Be blessed with this thought dear friend - Jesus is only a whispered prayer away
Let His love for you overwhelm you today. 
 
Love ya, 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Where's the Love? {Coffee For Your Heart}

Hi there friend!

Since today's serving of Coffee For Your Heart is kind of late in the day let's make it lite, sweet and decaf.  OK?

So I was wondering.... have you ever had one of those day's when you get to a point that you just stop and say - "Where's the love?!"

I'm talking about the kind of day where it seems everyone is upset, grumpy or angry with you.

It could go something like this......

First there's the hubby - no lovin' coming from the man this morning. He woke up late and now will be late to work. And he almost forgets to kiss me goodbye before he rushes out the door. Somehow I get the feeling he'd like to blame me for his running late.

Oh and those darling kids - Kiddo #1 can't understand why I won't let him stay home from school so he can beat whatever the video game of the week is. He's an intense and competitive one he is. Kiddo #2 is upset that he has to wear wet sneakers to school. Why didn't I dry them? Well, I didn't know he had played in a puddle last night after dinner. I swear that one has radar that directs him straight to dirt and puddles within a 5 mile radius.

Next up is the dog - there he is, tail between his legs and covered in mud. Guess he found the puddle that Kiddo #2 had found last night. No lovin' from my sweet pup. Not that I want any loving from a mud covered, wet and smelly dog. But, really! Does he have to growl and run when he sees me getting the towel and doggie shampoo ready for a bath?

Let's not have the cat feel left out on this oh so wonderful day - she's hiding under the bed and shows no love - just her claws. So she can stay under there all day for all I care.

And, oh yes, let's not forget the fish.... well, actually that's the problem - I've forgotten to feed him the last three nights. I could have sworn I saw him doing the backstroke as I walked by the fish bowl last night. Fish do the backstroke... don't they?

At this point I'm like "Whatever people! Where's the love?!"

Can anyone relate to my little story?
Oh yea! I bet you can!


But, let's stop right there. We're gonna take a quick turn here. No, we're not gonna head down the pity party road.

I actually really do want to encourage you, sweet friend.

And so I was wondering something else......

Did you know that there is One who always loves you? No matter what. And you can't do anything more to make Him love you more. And You can't do anything less to make Him love you less. 

Paul wrote a prayer in closing his letter to his friends in Ephesus And it's my prayer for you. As I type it I'm praying it for you.

    "And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. 
   May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.
   Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.  Amen"

{"I Heart U in the Sand" photo from photobucket}


Amen! See friend! Isn't it wonderful?! 
Oh I get so very excited when I think about how much God loves each of us. 
He loves you more than the number of grains of sand on the beach!
You. Are. Loved!


* I'm linking up with Holley Gerth's  Coffee for Your Heart  link-up series on Wednesdays


* Today's prompt is - You're loved.   
Click HERE to see what the other wonderful ladies, 
with hearts full of love and a cup of coffee in hand, 
have to say to encourage you today.



Love ya,

Friday, January 10, 2014

5 Minute Friday Fun: See

Hi friend!

Happy first Friday of the new year!

What day is it? It's five minute Friday! Well at least in blog land it is.

Every Friday for about four years writers have gathered over at Lisa-Jo's place in blog land for something she calls 5 Minute Friday. It's a linky party / blogger flash mob / free writing exercise. Whatever you want to call it, I say it's just plain fun - blog land style.

Everyone spends five minutes writing on the same topic. If they have a blog, they link up to Lisa-Jo's post on that week's topic. No blog? No problem! Just leave your five minutes of writing in the comments section at Lisa Jo's place.

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!

SEE

She said,"You always try to see the best in people."
She didn't mean it as a compliment, but also not as an offense either.
She was stating a fact. An observation about me.

And yea, I guess I do. I don't know why that is.

Some seem to think this is silly. Or dumb. Or makes me weak.

But isn't seeing the best in everyone something Jesus did?

I want to see the best in others. Which means I'm compassionate, have tons of empathy,
and try not to judge others.

I don't like to see.......
..... people being mistreated or made fun of.
..... someone being impatient with an elderly person.
..... someone eating alone when I'm out at a restaruant {even as a kid it bothered me}.
..... someone feeling sad. See someone crying? I may go over and give them a hug and ask if they're ok. And say a prayer with them as well.

This all makes me think of an Amy Grant song - Father's Eyes.

I want to have my Father's eyes and see others the way He sees them.

And I know it's a good thing to be this way.  Jesus made me this way.

and STOP!


Five Minute Friday
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


  Father's Eyes ~ Amy Grant
Songwriters: CHAPMAN, GARY WINTHUR
I may not be every mother's dream for her little girl,
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But that's all right, as long as I can have one wish I pray:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,

She's got her Father's eyes,
Her Father's eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can't be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you're going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my Father's eyes,
My Father's eyes,
My Father's eyes,
Just like my Father's eyes.

And on that day when we will pay for all the deeds we have done,
Good and bad they'll all be had to see by everyone.
And when you're called to stand and tell just what you saw in me,
More than anything I know, I want your words to be,

She had her Father's eyes,
Her Father's eyes;
Eyes that found the good in things,
When good was not around;
Eyes that found the source of help,
When help would not be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you're going through,
And feeling it the same.
Just like my Father's eyes,
My Father's eyes,
My Father's eyes,
Just like my Father's eyes.
My Father's eyes,
My Father's eyes,
Just like my Father's eyes.


Love ya,