A Letter To The Woman I Was A Year Ago

A letter to the woman I was a year ago

To the woman I was a year ago,

I want to start by saying I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all of the harsh words, the self doubt, the lack of faith, and the lack of motivation and direction that I put you through. I’m sorry that I pointed out what was wrong with you more than I gave you praise for the things that you were doing right. I’m sorry that I spent so much time putting you through unneeded worry and stress. I’m sorry for the time that I wasted on worrying that you wouldn’t be able to accomplish big things. I’m sorry, most of all, that I doubted your worth.

I want to tell you to please enjoy this year. I know that It’s full of hardships and trials… I know that there are days that you feel like you can’t even get out of bed… I want you to know that it’s okay. Get up anyway. Brush your hair and your teeth, drink some water, and if you feel like that’s all you can do that day, call it a win and go back to bed. Please don’t beat yourself up over the days that that’s all you can do. I know how tired you are, I also know that you’re trying so hard. Don’t give up. Small victories are still victories. Better days are coming, even if you can’t see that yet.

Learn to accept help. You will need it, and that’s okay. You aren’t a burden. There are people in this world that want to help you, I promise. Please let them help you. I know that you want to do it all on your own, but there are things in your life that are beyond your capabilities at this time. It’s perfectly okay to need others. Your husband, your family, your friends, they want to help you. They love you. One day, you will love you too.

Life is not going to go according to your plan. I want you to know that you accept that and learn to trust God like never before. Your faith will grow in ways that you never imagined. You will make it through what feels like the darkest time of your life and you are stronger because of it. You don’t get all the answers that you are looking for, but you won’t stop looking for them.

As I write all of this to you, I know that there seems to be more bad than good… If I’m being honest, you have a hard year ahead of you… but, looking back, I wouldn’t change one bit of it. I am who I am today because of the woman you were then. Things have changed, drastically and for the better. You are much kinder to yourself now, and you have learned that life is much better when you share it with those close to you. Your faith has grown immensely and you are still working on growing it more. For the first time in a while, you are truly happy.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Far From Perfect – Close To Happy and Treating Yourself With The Same Kindness You’d Give Others.

Far From Perfect – Close To Happy

Far From Perfect - Close To Happy

There are a lot of things that can be said about me… some good, some bad, and I’m sure some that I would never even think of. One thing that I am told a lot, is that I am so happy. It’s true for the most part, I am (typically) a happy person. That being said, I think that it’s not a rare occasion that us “always happy people” are happy on the outside and at war with ourselves on the inside.

See, I am a perfectionist. Seemingly only when it comes to work, things for others, and myself. There is a major difference between three of these things though. Me being a perfectionist shows itself in my work in the form of triple checking, asking (arguable too many) questions, and continuing to work at a task until I can get it as close to completely right as possible. In things for others, me being a perfectionist rears its ugly head in the form of large amounts of time spent doing and re-doing things until I think that it’s up to the standards that they (“they” tends to end up being me being hard on myself… I have never had anyone upset with my tasks, but if I think that they deserve better, I refuse to let them settle on what I deem “not good enough”) set for me. Then there something that has been bouncing around my brain quite a bit lately.

I am a perfectionist when it comes to myself. Yes, those of you who know me probably just laughed (or scoffed) because I am far from perfect. The thing that sets being a perfectionist about myself apart from being a perfectionist about work and gifts/tasks for others, is simply what outcome it produces. With work and with things for others, I end up making the end result better. Yes, it takes longer and that tends to be a pain, but it tends to make me work harder at something and motivates me to get it right. With being a perfectionist about  myself ( yes, I know that no one is perfect, it doesn’t stop me from nitpicking), the motivation that I typically use to generate a better outcome, turns into self deprecation.

I can’t seem to get myself in the mindset of, “Hey, you aren’t happy with where you are at currently, but you will get there”. Instead, it turns into a deprecating inner monologue of, “Well, here you go again, you’ve already failed so many times before, what makes you think that this will be any different? You might as well just give up on that now”. Once that gets stuck in my mind, the same driving force that normally helps me, starts tearing me down with the same tenacity that it uses to attack all other tasks.

I tell you all of this because, like I said, this has been bouncing around my brain quite a bit lately. The more I thought on it, the more I realized that it’s devastating to your happiness. I once was told (and even wrote a post on) how only you can make yourself happy. I still believe that, but I have also started to realize that we are often our own source of misery (okay, misery sounded good, but a bit harsh… ) as well.

For everyone out there that is struggling with this same problem, please see that you’re not alone. I have been right there with you. Moving forward though, I want you to challenge yourself to the same thing that I am. I am spending every day, from now on, working to improve how I think of myself and how I conduct my inner dialogue. No more self deprecation; only self motivation. I urge you to do the same, because I am willing to bet that if someone else said half of the things about you that you say about yourself, you’d call it abuse.

You can achieve self-love and happiness, though. One day at a time, one minute at a time, one second at a time… whatever it takes to achieve that happiness in a healthy way. Just keep moving forward.

Thank you for taking the time to read and if you are feeling alone or lost in the endless cycle of trying to love yourself and coming up short, please reach out to me. I am always here to listen when you need it, and talk if you want it. You will get through this. Remember, even when you are far from perfect, you are always close to happy; all you have to do is work towards a better mindset. I hope that you enjoyed this post and as always, much love and God bless!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out I Choose Happiness and Treating Yourself With The Same Kindness You’d Give Others.

What It’s Like To Own A Dachshund

What It's Like To Own A Dachshund

Hey everyone! Today, I want to talk to you about what it’s like to own a Dachshund. Now, I know that I’m going to have to put some type of disclaimer in this post that says this is my personal feelings and experiences with owning a Dachshund, and like any other breed, they aren’t all the same. So, before you decide whether or not to get one of these little ones, make sure you do ample research to decide if these are the right dogs for you.

Meet Claire, my precious Miniature Silver Dapple Dachshund (that’s already a mouthful, so I’ll interject here that she is a long haired mini). She is the sweetest and most loving dog that I have ever met… and the most stubborn. As we move forward with this post, I am going to go through what it’s been like since we got her and what we’ve learned about her (and the breed), both good and bad.

Let me start by saying that I have wanted a Silver Dapple for a very long time. I stayed on rescue sites and Dachshund sale sites (like breeders or not, the babies that they breed need forever homes too) for about a year- a year and a half. We found a few on sale sites, but  the hefty price tag wasn’t something that we could, or wanted, to pay. So, the search continued… Finally, we were able to find the one puppy that struck both of our hearts and left us certain that they needed to be ours.

Flash back to February 21 2017, this is when we found out that a family friend’s Silver Dapple had just had a litter of puppies and that there were two female Silver Dapples. In early March 2017,  I received the picture above with a message saying that I had the first pick of the litter. After calling my husband (I was out of state getting ready for my sister’s wedding) and talking it over with him to make sure that we were ready for this, I sent back the picture to the right with a message that said something along the lines of “she’s our girl”.

Even though we couldn’t take her home until she was 8 weeks old, we knew that we would be able to meet her at roughly 4 weeks old. Here is a picture from the first time we met this super cute and super chunky baby.

She instantly had us “wrapped around her paw”. At only 4 weeks old, she was wagging her tail at us and acted so happy to see us. It was like she knew that we would be her forever family. We stayed and loved on her for a couple of hours and came back again the next week (she recognized us the following week and waddled straight to us when we came in) to see her again. (Just a bit of foreshadowing, she was already super stubborn and showed this in her refusal to stop nibbling on her mama and siblings’ tails despite the continuous nips she kept receiving in return)

Just a few weeks later, we were able to take her home. Right away, she did amazing with car rides, and has continued to do so (she will be 2 years old in February 2019). She was very loving from the start and very vocal. Not to mention, she was only 3 pounds. Keep in mind, the minis are very small dogs and don’t get too terribly big when fully grown. My Mama owns her sister, and she is the same way, very vocal and very loving, she’s just a little bit bigger (Claire is 13 pounds, Addie is 19 pounds). Below is a super cute picture of Claire and Addie together.

Now, with all of the good times (which was and continues to be ample), came a few obstacles. Despite her being obviously smart, potty training was a rough road. It took us 8 months, and that was considered fast for her breed (talking to other Dachshund owners, it can even take 2 years or longer to potty train this stubborn breed). We knew that she was smart enough to learn this skill, she just didn’t want to at the moment. So, 8 long months later, she was house broken… except for when it would rain. She hated the rain and would purposely hold it until she came back in; again, she was very stubborn. She has outgrown this now and is fully housebroken.

Truthfully, the stubbornness and difficulty with potty training is the only big obstacle that we’ve encountered. She went through a very brief chewing phase (it lasted about a month) that resulted in a chewed up case of paper towels and a chewed in half vacuum cleaner cord. That being said, she never chewed furniture or tried chewing on peoples’ hands. To be fair, every breed goes through at least a slight “chewing phase”.

As she’s grown up, she’s stayed just as loving, if not more so. She still does great on car rides, and she is still very very vocal (now, much more than then). She has specific sounds that she makes when she wants to go out or get up on the couch and she will “talk” to you if she thinks you aren’t paying her enough attention. Claire is a sweetheart, loves everyone and always wants to be around people. Potty training aside, she picks up tricks quickly and retains them. She’s cute as can be and she brings a lot of joy to those around her. She’s our sweet girl, so I am biased, but she is the most loving and lovable dog that I’ve ever met. Below are some pictures of our sweet, goofy, baby as she’s grown up.

 

If you are thinking about getting a Dachshund, I highly recommend it. They are such incredible, sweet dogs that bring tons of happiness to all that they encounter. Before you decide whether or not to get one, do a ton of research, as this breed is prone to several health and back problems. If you are looking to get a very loving, laid back, and silly dog, and you feel like the medical problem potentialities and the potty training difficulties don’t scare you, then please think about getting a Dachshund. Oh, and make sure that you don’t mind toys being everywhere, because as soon as you put them up, they’ll drag them all right back out. I may be biased, but I think that they are such a wonderful breed to own.

Thank you for taking the time to read! With the holidays fast approaching, be sure to check out my posts on 5 Must Have Christmas Decorations for 2018 and   5 Must Have Christmas Gifts For Any True Coffee Lover

5 Must Have Christmas Gifts For Any True Coffee Lover

5 Must Have Christmas Gifts For Any True Coffee Lover

(This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you. All products are products that I use/want and/or would recommend to my friends and family. To see more on my affiliate policy, view my disclaimer)

 

Hello everyone! Today I want to talk to you about coffee. More specifically, 5 Must Have Christmas Gifts For Any True Coffee Lover. I can’t even express how excited I am for this post!! Coffee is one of my absolute favorite things in the world! There is so much you can do with it and it tastes (and smells) incredible (and CAFFEINE). So, for all of my fellow coffee lovers, I have put together a list of 5 coffee themed gifts that you will definitely want (and may want to give). Whatever you decide to do with them, below are the 5 gifts that I believe will wow any coffee lover; enjoy!

– Around the world in 12 coffees – Okay, so this was given to me as a gift several months ago and it has been the coolest coffee set that I have ever seen! It features 12 different coffees from different places (yes, I know that the name of it is self explanatory). They say that each pouch contains enough for a “perfect potful” but if you are like me, you’ll be able to get about 2 potfuls out of every pouch without it feeling watered down (which is the worst type of coffee). Each coffee has a “definition” which goes over what you can expect its flavor to be like and they come in this adorable box that is set up like an old/weathered map. I have loved this set so much and I have had some new favorites stem from this sampler. If you are someone that likes to try new coffees and experience different flavor profiles, this is definitely for you! To learn more about Around The World In 12 Coffees, click HERE.

– Death wish coffee (for the caffeine addicts) – Here we have another great coffee. The name is, I’ll admit, a bit intimidating… and yes, its name is supposed to be a representation of its caffeine levels… but as long as you drink responsibly (who knew that phrase would ever need to be applied to coffee), this is a coffee that you’ll want to try. I have only had Death Wish coffee a couple of times and after far fewer cups than I typically drink, I was wired. The thing is, it has an incredible taste to it! I have several coffees that are my “go-to favorites”, several that are my “indulgent favorites”, and several others that are my “I really love them but I can’t drink them 24/7 if I want to have any chance at a normal heart rate”. While this certainly falls into the third category, it is also certainly one of my occasional guilty pleasures. If you love the combination of a major caffeine punch and super tasty coffee, you’re going to want to try this. To learn more about Death Wish coffee, click HERE.

– “First we drink the coffee, then we do the things” Mug – This mug is so stinking cute! Not to mention, how true is that saying? I feel like I need that in big, bold, print on a pajama shirt to match this super awesome mug (talk about starting your morning off right!). There isn’t much more I can say about this other than I think that it would be perfect to add to your “mug collection” (if you’re like me, you can’t turn down a cute mug- I have to many already and I am hoping to add this one to the collection soon). To learn more about the “First we drink the coffee, then we do the things” mug, click HERE.

– Coffee grinder – My coffee grinder is one of my kitchen staples. There are few things in life better than the smell and taste of freshly ground coffee. I know it takes a little extra time and effort… and I, admittedly, don’t grind fresh coffee everytime I drink it. That being said, I am so glad that I did, everytime that I do. Sometimes I even take coffee grounds from some of my favorite brands and grind them down even finer to “freshen it up” a bit. Plus, not only is the taste more full (less “bean water” more “full bodied coffee”), but you cannot beat the smell of it; better than any candle, hands down! Freshly ground coffee just has a way of making the whole house smell amazing (hint – it’s great for when you have guests coming over… even better if they happen to be coffee lovers too). If you don’t own a coffee grinder now, it’s a tool that I would highly recommend. Sadly, I believe that Amazon no longer carries the type of coffee grinder that I use. If you want to try and find one like mine, it’s the Aicok Coffee Grinder. Even though I can’t find the same brand that I use, I have found one on Amazon that is almost the exact same.  To learn more about the Epica Coffee Grinder, click HERE.

– Ninja coffee bar – My Ninja Coffee Bar is my TOP KITCHEN STAPLE. I seriously don’t know what I would do without it (or what I did before it). It’s got multiple size settings, so I can make enough for one cup or a full pot. It has different settings for brew strength; yes please! I love having the ability to make it classic, or go rich with it, and it even has an over ice option! All the choices, its awesome. Plus, it comes with a dual ended ground scoop, and a recipe book with all of these specialty coffee concoctions (which are super tasty). Then, it comes with a milk frother, which I didn’t think that I needed or wanted… I was wrong! It’s the coolest thing ever! It gives me the ability to make coffee shop quality coffees right from my own kitchen. Did I mention that the water container is detachable so that you can fill it up at the sink and put it back, little to no spillage while trying to fill it up? Plus, there is even a little flip down cup stand so that if you want to make just a cup, it doesn’t sit directly on the warmer… that’s right, it even has a warmer at the base to keep your carafe of coffee warm for as long as you wish.  I love my coffee bar, it is easily the best purchase that we made in all of 2018. I’ll quit rambling about it now, just know that if you love coffee and you love making great coffee at home, the Ninja Coffee Bar is definitely worth looking into. To learn more about the Ninja Coffee Bar, click HERE.

I loved writing this post so much; anything coffee and you can count me in! I hope that you enjoyed this list of 5 Christmas gifts for any true coffee lover and if you want to see more things coffee themed, in the future, let me know in the comments. Thank y’all so much for reading and as always, much love and God bless!

 

If you enjoyed this post, check out my post on 5 Must Have Christmas Decorations for 2018

How To Start A Blog

How To Start A Blog

(This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you. All products are products that I use and/or would recommend to my friends and family. To see more on my affiliate policy, view my disclaimer)

The simple answer to this question is yes, starting a blog is definitely as simple as it looks. It’s the keeping it running and growing that can be very difficult. Blogging, if you plan on making it your job at some point instead of keeping it as a hobby, takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It takes hours and hours of prep-work, planning, networking, marketing, content-creation, and much more. So, if you read that and it sounds like something that you are willing and wanting to do, keep reading and I’ll tell you what it takes to start a blog.

-Theme/Niche – The very first step to starting a blog is determining what your theme/niche will be. Basically, what you are wanting to talk about on your blog. I, personally, am a life and faith blogger; which means that I can talk about all things lifestyle and all things faith. For you, you may want to be a beauty blogger, a lifestyle blogger, or maybe even a travel blogger. Whatever you are wanting to use your platform for is what type of niche you will have. I recommend doing a lot of research into what niche you want before you decide. There are a lot of different ins-and-outs in this crazy blogging world and nailing your niche is one thing that will set you apart from others.

-Prep Work – The next step to starting your blog is the prep work. Get some ideas down on paper (or in your computer) and start getting some posts ready for your launch. You do this so that you already have content for your launch, and because it should help to keep you from feeling overwhelmed, because you have content that you can pull from if you are struggling to get a good post idea for that week. Your prep work can go as far as getting your hosting and spending a few days getting the look of your site to be just right. Whatever you are comfortable with having ready will be the extent that you need to take your prep work to. Remember, this part of starting a blog isn’t supposed to be overwhelming. Take your time and make sure that you are focusing on quality more than you are quantity.

-Hosting – After you have your prep work sorted out, it’s time to start looking at hosting. Now, I am and affiliate with SiteGround, which is a hosting network, but it’s because I have used them from the beginning and I absolutely love them. They have 24/7 tech support (great if you aren’t tech savvy, like me), their packages encompass so much (they have 3 packages and the Start Up plan is perfect for a beginning blogger), and they have great prices! At the end of the day, the choice is yours, research all of the different hosting plans and pick the one that fits your blogging plans the best. If you want to check out more on SiteGround hosting, click HERE. If you want to read my post on Why I Chose SiteGround Hosting, click HERE.

-Posting – The next to last step in STARTING a blog, is simply to start posting. Get your first post up and running and then you are done “starting” your blog and you are now ready to begin running it. Make your post great (add pictures and learn more about SEO, trust me, it’s worth it) and then go out into the blogging world and make your presence known. You have started a blog, all of your hard work and planning is finally coming together.

Now the tricky part is learning how to get those posts out into the world. You’ve learned about SEO and written great content, all that’s left is to get it out into the world of social media and let it do it’s thing. Now, I did this manually for a while and it just wasn’t working like I wanted it to. When I started using Tailwind and Tailwind Tribes, it all started to fall into place. I honestly don’t know how I went so long without it (it makes life so much easier in the blogging world). It helps me schedule my pins (it even calculates the best times to post them!) and the Tailwind Tribes are perfect for connecting to others in the blogging community and growing your content. I am an affiliate with them, but it’s only because I stand behind them 100%. I absolutely love Tailwind and I think that you will too. If you want to learn more about Tailwind, click HERE.

-Setting Goals – While, technically, once your first post goes up you have officially started your blog… setting goals for your blog is a kind of final step to getting started. It keeps you moving forward with growth and it keeps you accountable to yourself. Setting goals helps in so many ways that it’s unreal, but make sure that you are setting goals that are realistic for you. If your goal for week one is to make it to 1.2 million page views a day, you are more than likely going to be disappointed. That being said, if you set yourself up with a more realistic goal of 20 views a day during your opening week, and you do your networking, you will be able to achieve it and it will keep you feeling like you are on top of the world. I know that it sounds strange, but getting those small wins as you progress, keeps you from feeling like you’ve become stagnant and it helps to maintain your interest.

That’s all for How To Start A Blog. I hope that you guys have enjoyed this post and I wish you the best of luck on your blogging journey. It seems more intimidating to start a blog than it really is; the hard part comes after you’ve started. That being said, you can absolutely run a blog if you are willing to put in the time and dedication. Blogs tend to be a lot of work, but they are so fulfilling and the blogging community is one of the most supportive communities that I have ever seen. Go out and share your thoughts with the world! As always, much love and God bless!

If you enjoyed this post, check out my post on Why I Blog.

Living With A Silent Sickness

Living With A Silent Sickness

There is no doubt that being sick leads to many frustrations. There is even less doubt that those frustrations increase when no one can figure out why you are sick. I’m there right now… I have what I call a “silent sickness”, meaning, something is wrong with me and none of the doctors so far have been able to find out why. Test after test has come back negative and if I hear “well, you don’t look sick”, one more time, I may explode. Partly because I know that I’m sick (which you don’t have to “look sick” to actually be sick), and partly because if you had known me before all of this started, I look a whole lot rougher than I did a year or two ago. I feel like I need to talk on this because I know that there are others out there struggling with the same thing that I am. We may not have the same sickness, but I’m willing to bet that we are encountering a lot of the same roadblocks and struggles.

“You can’t be THAT sick”, “Well, I have problems too, I just have to push through”, “If all the tests are negative, maybe it’s all in your head”, and too many more phrases to count. I feel like I have heard them all. If you’ve heard these, then you know how absolutely infuriating it is to have someone boil down the battle of your life into…. just nothing… You don’t know what’s wrong with you, just that there is something very wrong with your body/mind or both and the people around you barely believe you. Don’t even get me started on the doctors, half of them look at you like you’re crazy and the other half pawn it off on illnesses that you have dealt with for most of your life (illnesses that you know this new sickness is nothing like). Frustrating isn’t even a strong enough word to describe how shattering this journey can be. You feel alone, drained, and at some point in time, you start to believe that maybe it is all in your head (even when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it isn’t). I know that I have…. After months of putting myself last, because I thought of my silent sickness as an inconvenience to those around me and I thought that I could just “push through”, I have finally decided that my health needs to either come first, or darn near close to it.

I haven’t been doing it long enough to know what comes next. I am hoping and praying that answers will come soon, and then healing. Realistically, I don’t expect those answers anytime soon… I expect lots of tests and lots of pushback. I expect more comments and a lot of people not understanding. Even with all of the negative that I’m pretty sure will be coming my way, I also know that I will maintain hope. I serve a God who heals and I know that I am going through this journey for a reason. So, for now, I take all of the frustration and I try to learn from it. My silent sickness may be hard, but I refuse to let it ruin my happiness. If you are in the same situation, I encourage you to do the same; expect the rough roads that are likely ahead, but hold out hope that the answers are coming. You can get through this, you will get through this, and it’s okay to take care of yourself. We may not have a name to match to our illness yet, but we have other people out there who understand what we are going through, and answers in our futures.

 

I hope that you enjoyed this post and my hope for you guys is that you will gain comfort from this post or understanding from it. Silent sickness is no joke and it should be treated accordingly. If you are going through this and you feel alone and defeated, like no one out there believes you, then please reach out to me. I understand, I believe you, and you aren’t alone. Thank y’all so much for reading and as always, much love and God bless!

 

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good thing, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:1-5

 

If you enjoyed this post, check out my post on Even Broken Things Can Be Beautiful and Treating Yourself With The Same Kindness You’d Give Others

5 Must Have Christmas Decorations for 2018

5 Must Have Christmas Decorations for 2018

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk to y’all about 5 Must Have Christmas Decorations for 2018. I can’t wait to share some awesome decorations, with you guys! While I am putting my affiliate links to the different products (You can learn more by checking out my Disclaimer), all of these products I personally love or want and would never recommend if I didn’t think that they were amazing. Without rambling on, I hope that y’all enjoy!

  • Scented Pine Cones – Okay, these are a staple every single Christmas because they are absolutely incredible! They are cinnamon scented pine cones, so your house ends up smelling so good! You can put them all in one place for a centerpiece, place them throughout your Christmas tree as sweet smelling ornaments, or get crafty and attach ribbons to hang them up around your home (or to give as quick and easy gifts). Every year these make my house smell INCREDIBLE; I’m talking like Christmas store in the mall, incredible. If you’ve gotten them before, you know that they are awesome, if you haven’t gotten them before, I’m telling you… they are so worth the try. Click HERE to see more on the Scented Pine Cones. 
  • Lighted Ceramic Tabletop Christmas Tree – I was given one of these as a gift a couple of years ago and now it’s another Christmas staple in my home. They are so gorgeous and the lights (the little ornament looking things on the tree) add the perfect pop of color to any room. It’s one of those pieces that give you immediate “Christmas morning” feelings whenever you light it up. I mean, who doesn’t want a super cute mini tree to stare at while you daydream about Christmas Day? These are perfect for homes and, some may say, even better for offices. Click HERE to see more on the Lighted Ceramic Tabletop Christmas Tree. 
  • Mistletoe/Kissing Ball – The mistletoe/kissing ball, is such a classic. Dangling from doorways or shining as an ornament on the tree, it’s a timeless Christmas decoration that has been around for as long as I can remember. It can be used for getting a kiss from the person you love, or simply adding a little classic Christmas elegance to the room of your choosing. Click HERE to see more on the Ganz Mistletoe Kiss Ball (yes it’s a strange name, but it’s the most beautiful little mistletoe/kissing ball). 
  • Christmas Tree – Of course, it goes without saying that a Christmas tree is a Christmas decoration must have for every year. It gets the “festive feelings” flowing around the house and decorating a Christmas tree is an opportunity to get the whole family doing something together. Every year, my husband and I, go pick out a beautiful, live, Christmas tree and spend a few hours just decorating it up and dancing around the house to Christmas music. This will be our 4th year carrying on this tradition and I can’t wait (It’s honestly one of my absolute favorite times of the year). Something about having the music turned up and being busy stringing lights or placing ornaments (so phones get put away and not thought about for a little while) is just peaceful and captivating. For a little bit, you don’t feel like the world around you exists, it’s just you and your family. We always like to get a live tree, but if you prefer an artificial tree, click HERE to see more on a 7.5’ Artificial Spruce that even comes with a stand. 
  • Nativity Scene – I know that most of this list, okay… all of this list is made up of things that have been Christmas traditions in my life for as long as I can remember. The nativity scene is another family tradition, for me. I can remember being little and having my grandma explaining to me what her porcelain nativity scene was (it was this beautiful bright porcelain; I’m pretty sure that they don’t make them like that anymore). It always sat next to this little Christmas mouse that she put up every year, which has no relation to the scene itself, but it’s one of those images that you hold on to as you grow older. It never failed, every single year I would go up to her nativity scene and just admire the beautiful little figurines and think about the birth of Jesus for a bit instead of Christmas presents and goodies (which is was the whole purpose of it in the first place, so it definitely worked). Though I haven’t been able to find one like hers yet, I found one that is so beautiful that I’ve got my eye on it. If you want to see more on the Nativity Scene that has caught my eye, click HERE

Those are my 5 Must Have Christmas Decorations for 2018. All of these items are things that I love and things that have kept Christmas in my home feeling the same as it did when I was little. I hope that you have enjoyed this post and thank you for taking the time to read! As always, much love and God bless!

 

If you liked this post, check out my posts on Christmas Gifts To Get The Person That “Has Everything” and 5 Must Have Christmas Gifts For Any True Coffee Lover

Creatively Purposed

Creatively Purposed

I am creatively purposed. Well, I believe that I am creatively purposed, but before I tell you why I feel this way, I need to tell you what being “creatively purposed” means. As far as I know, no one has defined this term before, so this definition is what I personally think it means… Creatively purposed is when you are supposed to use your, God-given, creativity for the purpose that He has for you. In other words, your creativity is what you are going to use to reach and/or walk in purpose. This post is for everyone out there that feels that God has given you a spirit and pull of creativity. I’m right there with you, and for everyone saying that creativity is for hobbies and not for making a living, I trust God with my purpose… not society. So, now that we have our “definition” out of the way, I want to talk to you about why I feel that I am creatively purposed and how you can find out if you are too.

(Backstory Time!) I have always been creative; I’m talking about singing songs before I knew how to even talk! From there, it was a wild imagination that would later turn into writing crazy stories that (while the attempted books haven’t made it past the drawing board yet) would teach me how to write and engage readers (which would help me with my writing when I felt that God was pulling me to blog). In between, this creativity birthed lemonade stands, “card companies”, painting/drawing, attempts at writing songs, and much more… but you get the picture, I was a child who tried to get my hands on anything at all that would let me be expressive (some may even say, creative). In my adult years, this creativity has led to me being a nail technician, refinishing furniture, learning to knit, and creating this very blog. For as long as I can remember, I have had this creativity flowing through me; and for as long as I can remember, I have looked at it as nothing more than a way to keep myself occupied with hobby after hobby. I have never looked at my creativity as being a part of my purpose… until today.

Those of you that know me, know that I love watching Pastor Michael Todd from Transformation Church in Tulsa,OK. I love watching his sermons because he keeps things transparent, he doesn’t just tell you what good you can get out of a right relationship with God, he gives you scripture to give you actionable steps to get that right relationship. I really could go on for a good while about Transformation Church and their amazing sermons (I will put a link to their website and their YouTube page below), but I want to talk a little about their “Planted Not Buried” series. I have been watching it for several weeks, and I went back yesterday to start the series over (when you feel like that sermon series is for you and about you, sometimes it takes a second watch through to get every little piece of information out of it). Let me tell you, it hit me like a ton of bricks. One of the main points in the series is that “Planted and buried look very similar, it’s what’s happening where you can’t see it that makes the difference” (planted-seed growing beneath the surface, buried-no life). I encourage you to go watch the series, it’s so good, but my takeaway from it was that I had been looking at my situation in such a wrong way, that it shocked me.

I had been looking at all of the negatives in my life and (while I don’t want to admit it) I was beginning to feel like God was giving up on me; or at the very least, that I was heading in the opposite direction of what He wanted for my life. So, when the aha moment hit, it changed everything. I felt like God was trying to get through my thick skull and say “you aren’t dead, I’ve just got you planted”. So, I prayed… “Lord, I want your will for my life, not my own, even if I don’t understand it right now and it’s dark and scary, please lead me to YOUR purpose for me”. Then the next aha moment struck (Are you seeing a pattern here?). I am struggling financially, that is just the plain truth. For reasons that I won’t bore you with, money has been fairly tight lately.That being said, I have been looking for a way to earn more money. Notice I said that I was looking, as in, instead of trusting my provider, I kept trying to make a way for myself and it went about as well as expected…. My second aha moment was that I’ve been  listening to what everyone around me has been saying about needing/finding more money, and not what God had been telling me about my walk in purpose. The truth is, I am not analytical or logical in the slightest, and if we are talking about cars or machinery, I’m the last one that you want to get involved… but I have always been creative. My creativity is a bundle of my God-given gifts. I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, God was using each of my hobbies to help cultivate my gifts so that I would be ready to walk in His purpose for me… and instead of working towards purpose, I was complaining about my steps to get there. Not anymore, from now on, I will embrace what God uses me for (what I enjoy and what I don’t) because that’s what will guide me to my purpose.

Do I know what my full purpose is yet? No. I have no idea what God wants to use me for next. All I can guess at this point is that it’s going to utilize my creativity. After all, my creativity has already allowed me to build relationships with people and do some pretty amazing things to show how great our God is. That’s why, as I’m walking by faith (and not by sight), I will keep listening to what God is telling me to do (and to use my creativity for) and I’m going to start ignoring what society tells me I should do. At the end of the day, I know that God’s plans for me are vastly better than anything I could ever dream of. Besides, if God is for me, who can stand against me? He will lead me to where I need to be, no matter how anyone else feels about what I’m doing, I just have to trust and follow Him for my purpose.

How can you tell if you are creatively purposed? The truth is, you won’t know for sure until you know that you are walking in purpose. If you sound like me, then you are probably creatively purposed. If your creativity has helped you with your walk with God, or helped you show others God’s glory, then you are probably creatively purposed. I think that most of the time, people miss that they are creatively purposed because society says that you should be “marketable” before you are creative. If you believe that you are creatively purposed, please start praying about what God wants for your life, not listening to what society wants for your life. It will make such a big difference.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post; I hope that you enjoyed it! If you feel like you are creatively purposed, go out and own it! It’s time to show that those of us who are creatively purposed, are still purposed for something great. I hope that you all have a wonderful day and please go read Romans 8:30-39, it is very impactful scripture. As always, much love and God bless!

 

If you enjoyed this post, click HERE to read Rock Bottom to Rock Solid (A Story Of Renewed Faith)

 

Click HERE to check out the Transformation Church website

Click HERE to check out the Transformation Church YouTube page

Treating Yourself With The Same Kindness You’d Give Others

Treating Yourself With The Same Kindness You'd Give Others

Hey everyone! Today, I want to talk about treating yourself with the same kindness that you would give others. I know so many people with amazing hearts that do so much good for others, and then tear themselves down day after day. The goal of this post is to show you (if you do that) that you need to start granting yourself with the same kindness that you have gifted others.

Of course, we have to start by looking at how you treat others. The biggest question is obviously, “Do you treat others with kindness?”. Think deeply about the interactions that you have on a daily basis… do you offer to help others, would you help a complete stranger, do you offer to listen, can people count on you to be there for them, do you speak kindly to the staff of the places you visit? If you said yes to these questions, then it’s likely that you tend to treat others with kindness. Now, one more big question… Do you treat yourself with kindness?

If you are always downing yourself or getting upset at yourself over everything, then you aren’t treating yourself with kindness and that needs to stop. Think of how big the impact is if you nurture a growing child; just because you are older doesn’t mean that you quit needing reassurance and praise. I believe that the biggest difference isn’t the age, it’s the way that we perceive the encouragement. When we are young, the encouragement is welcome and enjoyed. Once we are older, we start finding it hard to believe that anyone would want to give us praise when we, ourselves, feel like we don’t deserve it. The bottom line is, you need to be kind to yourself as much as you want to be kind to others.

If you aren’t kind to yourself, then eventually you will have broken yourself down so much that you will no longer want to be kind to others. Not to mention, being kind to yourself will open up a whole new world for you; one where you aren’t always down on yourself, but where you are happy with who you are. Trust me, being happy with who you are makes all the difference in the world. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t recognize when you mess up, just that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself when it comes to the small stuff.

You’ve spilled some juice and now the floor will be sticky? Okay, no big deal, it will mop up, there is no need to be upset at yourself over it. You’re running late to a really important event? Again, it’s okay, and there is nothing that can be done at that point, so don’t beat yourself because it isn’t going to do anything other than make you feel worse. Chances are, whatever you make a mistake on, it will happen again. That’s just part of life, and it’s how you learn. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and treat yourself with the kindness that you enjoy providing others. Things happen and there is nothing that you can do to control that, but you can control how you choose to feel about the situation.

Take care of yourself like you take care of others, you need you just as much as they do.

 

I know that the last couple of posts have been on the short side, but again, there are some things that don’t need to be over-complicated. I have gotten such a positive response on Even Broken Things Can Be Beautiful, that I wanted to keep reaching people that needed to hear it. I think that everyone struggles with treating themselves kindly, but there are people are out changing the world with their hearts and struggling with the way they treat themselves at the same time. You aren’t alone, and you don’t have to go through it alone. Keep reminding yourself to treat YOU with the kindness that you treat others with, and if you need someone to encourage you to keep (or even start) doing so, then you can reach out to me anytime and I will be here. Thank you guys for reading and as always, much love and God Bless!

If you enjoyed this post, check out my post on why I Choose Happiness and Even Broken Things Can Be Beautiful.

Even Broken Things Can Be Beautiful

Even broken things can be beautiful

The other day I was outside and the most beautiful butterfly kept flying near me. It fluttered around for quite a while before it finally landed close enough that I could get a good look at it. The vibrant blue and white nearly glowed against the deep navy of this little creature (the picture really doesn’t do it justice – it’s the butterfly from the image above); and for a moment, I almost didn’t realize that it had a broken wing. The break was small and at the bottom, impossible to notice while it was flying around… and it really got me thinking.

Much like this butterfly, if you pay attention to the people around you, you will notice that most of them keep people at arms length away so that no one has the chance to see the broken parts of their lives. Maybe they want to hide that they aren’t happy with their jobs, financial situation, weight, etc…  or maybe they want to hide that they aren’t happy with themselves as a whole. The bottom line is, it tends to be hard to let someone else see the parts of you that you don’t even want to acknowledge about yourself.

Maybe, you are the one that has been keeping everyone at arms length to hide your broken areas. If that is what you are doing, please please please take a break and “land” near someone. Someone you trust, someone you haven’t talked to in ages, or anyone that you think will listen; just let somebody take the time to see your beauty in its entirety, broken parts and all. The broken parts of us aren’t problems that are meant to be hidden away and never shown to the world. Honestly, it’s often our broken parts that make us stand out in the world and ends up shaping who we become.

I know every time that beautiful little butterfly comes to visit me, because I know what parts are broken… It’s still one of the most beautiful butterflies that I have ever seen, even with that chipped wing. Sometimes, your broken things are how you are able to connect (and even help) others. God always uses our broken things for so much more good than we could ever imagine. Instead of trying to hide what’s broken, use it to do good in the world and make your mark. Let them become your strengths instead of your weaknesses.

The truth is, we’re all a little broken… it’s what you do with that brokenness that counts.

Hey lovelies! I know that this post is a little short, but I know that there are people who needed to hear it, and some things don’t need to be over-complicated… If you read this and you feel like you have no one to “land next to”, please reach out to me; I will listen. Thank you for taking time to read and I hope that you enjoyed it, as always, God Bless and much love!

1 Peter 4:19- “So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good.”

If you enjoyed this post, check out my post on why I Choose Happiness