FRESH STARTS & BEGINNING AGAIN

Have you ever felt like you have just absolutely blown it?  Have you taken a path of your own choosing that was MESSED UP?  Did you spout off at someone and now you cannot take back what you spewed in anger or because your heart was broken?  Have you made a series of mistakes in a season and have been harshly judged by loved ones or friends?

Are you sad or hurting?  Do you want to fix things somehow, but do not even know where on earth to begin?  Does it just seem so unfix-able or overwhelming, that you just want to go into flight mode?

I have.  I have answered YES to each one of these questions that I have asked you.  It is painful to face each question.  I have been broken and I have broken others.  We have all heard that adage, “hurt people hurt people”.  Well, yes to each question.

HOWEVER, there is HOPE.  TRULY, THERE IS HOPE!

Make a FRESH START today or first thing in the morning.  Let this day that got messed up, this week that knocked you down, the month that swallowed you, or the whole dad gum season GO!  Calm yourself down and start over.  You have to take just one step.  You know when we get knocked around,  it is easy to lose our confidence and we actually lose our footing and are afraid to take a step back and afraid to make a step forward.  WE GET STUCK.  WE BECOME AFRAID.  WE ARE UNCERTAIN about things that we would have never doubted in our stronger seasons of life.  But here we are scared and lonely, without hope at times.

There is a Bible verse that I love and it gives me courage to make a fresh start, making steps towards beginning again. It is from Psalm 119:105 and says, ” The Word of God is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”.  As a lover of hiking in nature, I picture that I am walking in the woods on a path, but in the dark.  It is easy to trip over a root, a rock, an uneven path, twist an ankle or step on a snake.  I mentally imagine this Bible verse in that I have little lamps on my shoes, so I do not trip and fall.  I can see the path more clearly!  Just following that advice of  “one foot in front of the other” but now imagine it with His Light.  In that, it gives HOPE for a new beginning.  Tomorrows fresh start!

(Side note:  That adorable baby in the photo is my surprise youngest at 1.5 and my oldest at 20 year old.  We were hiking in the Texas Hill country.  These were my baby’s first shoes!  I have worn this same brand.  They have the toddler “bumber toe” and are KEEN Kids’ Seacamp II Cnx-T Sandal, Viridian/Very Berry, 6 M US Toddler)

Anyway… .We do not need to stay STUCK IN THE PAST.  We can learn from the hurts that have slam dunked us and the hurts where we have slam dunked others.  We can get up and let go of being a VICTIM.  Break free.  Ignore the judgement of others.  Just a big thought on IGNORING THE JUDGEMENT OF OTHERS,  are we really going to allow them to hold us hostage of a mistake or even a series of mistakes?  Are we going to stay stuck to let them see that they were right and give them something to continue to gossip about??  Think about that.  GET UP, SHAKE OFF THE DIRT, REMEMBER WHO YOU WERE AND THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE HAD.  OWN the precious person that God made you to be! He made you WONDERFUL!  GET UP! Begin again Loved One.  Begin Again.

Make small steps to passions you used to love or ones that you never started, but now will. Reach out to those that quietly loved you in your rough spot that you may have not had the energy or stamina to maintain.  Go to church and take in the Holy Spirit to your soul.  Its a very private moment when you are not there trying to impress others.  Its you and Him.  Let Him show you how much you are loved by Him!  Find yourself again!  Get off social media as much as possible and read books, work outside in the yard, go for a hike or walk, attend your children’s games and immerse yourself in every second (don’t get wrapped up talking to the other parents!  Its your baby!  It is about them!  Enjoy your gift),  paint, draw, clean your home or start smaller with a closet.  DO.  It is time to step into the light and live differently.  This may be the exact season that launches incredible changes in your life, the lives of your children, or you may impact many down the road because of the strength and humility you carried (dragged) out of that old season to this FRESH START.

So, a few thoughts to speak yourself!

1.  Do not reread your last chapter.  It is gone.  Look forward and do not swim in the past.

2.  Do not compare.  The wins of your past may not be how you win today!  What worked then will probably not work today.  Do not be discouraged if this happens and think about truly making a NEW UNIQUE win for this NEW SEASON.

3.  Forgive those that have hurt you.  Do your best, really.  You will open your heart to good for YOUR future.  This does not mean you need to allow them back in your life fully, if at all.  But, take some heart to heart conversations between you and God and ask over and over in prayer to let go of that pain.  Remember the ones that you have hurt too…the ones you slam dunked.  You can forgive and give the grace that someone has given you, undeserving too.

4.  Start new healthy relationships.  Create a new positive mentally healthy group of friends.  Be mindful of the types that you may be drawn to that will take you down a previous path of destruction.  Learn to feel that red flag and exit early (kindly and firmly) out of that situation.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL AND IT IS HARD, BUT WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER! There are so many great stories out there of people like you and me, that started new careers at 50, 60, 70, 80 years old.  They have purchased their first home after having deplorable credit for years.  They were blessed with a baby after seasons of a closed womb.  A wayward child comes home.  An addict who found the saving grace of Christ and has a new life and story to build others up.  Any one of us and our stories are meant to build others, to love others to health, to save someone.  So, think of the people out there that need you.  Day One, START OVER, BEGIN AGAIN.  Life will be better and stronger and then GIVE BACK LOVED ONES!

4 COMMON SIGNS OF VERBAL ABUSE ~ That Crush Your Spirit and Break Your Heart

How does anyone really begin to define verbal abuse?  For each person may define it differently.   I think we all have different capacities of tolerance based on our upbringing, our environment, our genuine nature, and the ability to escape the verbal abuser (for hours, a day, a week, etc).  

If you have never experienced a constant barrage of verbal assaults and abuse, you may assume that what you did really really bothered that person and they were angry.  You may assume that this person has an anger problem and does not know how to handle their emotions like you, so you tolerate the behavior because you feel sorry for them.  You may assume that if you argue back or debate their issue, you could be in danger.  It is a very unhealthy spiral and leads to a BROKEN HEART AND CRUSHED SPIRIT.

~~4 COMMON SIGNS OF VERBAL ABUSE~~

1.  You never know WHAT will set this person off.  The occurrence that this abuser thinks is relevant could be that you used the ground beef to make meat loaf when you had no idea this was their intention and it sets off a huge firestorm.  This person misplaces THEIR keys, wallet, credit card, etc and YOU become their target of blame and they force you to stop whatever you are doing with all sorts of verbal assaults of your faults.  A common figure of speech in regards to this sign of verbal abuse is, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”.   You never know how a day can turn on a dime and leave you crushed in spirit!

2.  Your once pretty confident self has big-time diminished!  Maybe you have accomplished great things in a career or come from a loving family where you felt confident to love life well.  Usually the verbal abuser, lacking much self confidence themselves, will need to put you down as much as possible.  They will diminish your accomplishments.  They will make you feel ugly and unattractive over and over.  They whittle away at the parts of you that actually they initially fell in love with, ironically.  They discourage you in your career or your passions and then when the income suffers, that gives them ANOTHER reason to attack your self esteem of not financially providing or contributing well to the family.

3.  This abuser of your heart and soul will also take simple joys away from you.  It may be a gym membership.  They may begin to put down the loving relationships you have with family or/and friends.  They may highly discourage those loving relationships because not only are they jealous, but it will keep you dependent on them.  Things that give you a sense of joy and bring beauty in your life, if they are aware of these, can be one by one taken away from you.  There is a severe form of mental, verbal and emotional abuse called Stockholm Syndrome.  It is a psychological response where a “captive”  begins to closely identify with their captor, going into survival mode.  Marriage and children can complicate an ability to leave a situation and the abused feels trapped and allows most freedoms to be removed.  It could be as sad as a child being raised in a home where that is all they know, with no escape.  

4.  Your nerves are on edge all the time.  Due to the constant “walking on eggshells” and the unannounced verbal assaults,  consisting of yelling and/or cursing, you feel like you have the jitters all the time.  You feel like you cannot calm down or that you are on the verge of a breakdown.  You may cry at things you normally would not.  You may even find yourself defensive and arguing back at things that would not be worth a fight.  You feel your own nature changing to meet the harsh demands of this abuser and it is taking its toll on your own mental, emotional, and physical health.

 

This person you have allowed into your life, that you grew to love is now hurting your very fiber.  They are stealing the positive legacy that God intended for you to leave!  I understand -wholeheartedly- feeling “stuck” with no options.  You have to start with telling ONE safe person.  If you have alienated yourself out of depression or because this significant other has for you, you need to selectively reach out to those that love you genuinely.  That is a first step.  And, being a strong believer in Christ (even in hardships, and YES I questioned Him and what purpose any of that held!!  I was hurt and upset!!), I would highly suggest reading your Bible.  If you do not own one, go get an easy to read version.  If you find that funds are too tight, go to a local church and ask someone on staff.  Do you know how many Bibles are left there.  You may find a new friend and get a special Bible.  I am not a fan of the King James version, but that is just my preference.  I get lost in the “thee’s and thou’s formality” and in 3 versus, I am wondering what I will make for dinner!  

Start with the very beginning, Genesis.  Take your time and soak in all that God created.  Each book of the Bible leading to the New Testament, has its own theme, shock, and beauty.  Pray and you will begin to see small and large miracles only you will be aware of.  That part is so incredible.  

I encourage you to take walks and be out in nature.  Use this time to re-calibrate your nerves.  Practice the simple pleasures that give your mind a reprieve from the abuse.  You know the things that bring you simple joy!  Practice those.  TAKE STEPS TO HEAL YOUR BROKEN HEART!

In the meantime, I will be praying for you as a whole.  If you want me to pray for you by name with specifics, you can message me or leave a comment.  God bless!

3 IMPACTFUL BENEFITS OF BEST FRIENDS

Do you remember how wonderful it was to have a group of childhood friends that just hung with you every day; on the playground, in your home, in the backyard or at school?  I think as we age, we see the most amazing importance of sharing life with a select group of TRUSTED friends.

3 NEEDED IMPACTS OF HAVING BEST FRIENDS:

1. During life’s hard seasons, those seasons you can barely endure, to have an honest and loving friend that stays by your side is immeasurable.  In a season where you may feel lost, to have this best friend that stays closer than a brother gives a quiet needed strength.  Have you read this Bible scripture from Proverbs 18:24 that says, “A man who has friends must be friendly, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.”.

I have to share a precious moment I witnesses this last weekend at my niece’s wedding, which was TRULY the most elegant and fun wedding I have ever experienced!  It was in the Hill Country town of Wimberly, Tx. My older sister, number 2 of 5 daughters,  has a special needs son and has built a STRONG  tiny group of her “own sisters” that understand the needs and challenges of life with a special needs child.  What I found so beautiful last weekend was when my sister gave the most heart melting genuine speech honoring her daughter and new son-in-law,  this special group of maybe 5 best friends walked up and stood with her as she began choking up in front of everyone at the wedding.  That in itself was incredibly powerful, seeing this group of ladies be her quiet and strong support!  We could all be that blessed!  It spoke volumes to my heart!

2.  The honest advise or opinions of best friends who know you.  When a genuine friend knows your idiosychracies, your desires, your real flaws, your heart they can give advice based on real factors and situations.  Each of our lives are different.  Similar stories since the beginning of time, but different details.  No ones story will ever match exactly another’s.  Having a loving best friend that takes all the facts, good and bad and stands with you is a gift to NEVER DISMISS.

3.  Laughter is one of the best benefits shared by best friends.  Our souls need laughter.  When we share gut laughs, whether it’s ornery humor or simplistic humor, it’s a bonding love shared.  All sorts of positive health benefits are out there on the benefits of laughing.  Sometimes it’s easier laughing with besties than family members.  Not that we cannot have family as besties, but having a little distance sometimes adds such an ease to life. A little arms distance sometimes gives you that freedom to really open up about your marriage, your own family, your job situation, whatever it is that allows you to need to laugh and be transperant.

Growing older, I encourage us all to create and allow best friendships to form.  Be the best friend YOU need.  Be there for those that were there for you.  These relationships will sustain us, make us better, more loving, more compassionate, more tolerable, and provide a love we need as we each age.  It will be a different love than your marriage, different than a siblings love,  but its own special love.

Know When To Stand Down

Have you ever wanted something for someone else because you just knew that they were highly qualified, that they deserved the good that would come, and/or because it would better their life?  Isn’t it easy to sometimes view another’s needs from an outside perspective?  There is a difference though of manipulating and controlling someone versus being a positive encouraging influence.  What a difficult position this is when you love someone and are heartbroken that they are a stone’s throw away from a different life if they walked through certain or even uncertain doors.

My thought today is that part of our special assignment while living and loving others in this life is to be an encourager!  When someone you know is going through a huge financial, relational, or devastating set back, they will need love, patience, and to be lifted in sensitive ways.  It could be as simple as checking on them with texts, sweet uplifting facebook messages,  some yummy comfort food, or a phone conversation when they emerge from reclusivity.  On that note, many people do hole up and are processing their heart ache.  If you know this person well, you will know how much is too much.  Be watchful for them reaching out to you ON THEIR TIME.  Answer their texts, their random phone call, a message through facebook or other form of social media.  If they want to meet, make every effort to do so.  If they would prefer to just talk on the phone, don’t insist meeting in person.  Be available in the way they reach out to you.

I have someone close to me that is out of a job.  This is an executive that is in shock, is hoping something will land in his lap, and is prideful.  I completely understand.   He is lost in ways.  I have searched jobs for this friend on different job boards and sent them.  I have found highly reputable recruiting firms and shared that information.  It’s all falling on deaf ears.  Why is it making me anxious?  It is because I know this persons worth and huge potential they offer to their specific line of work.  When someone is heartbroken or depressed,  you want to fix their hurt, repair their heart,  stand them on their feet again, but ultimately THEY have to want to heal and chase life at their own speed.

So, all we can lovingly do is to ride along beside this loved one and offer encouragement when we can and respect thier boundaries.  This may be stepping aside for a while and allowing them the time to soak up and in, how they need to heal.  We are not all the same.  Some need to be very social and some need quiet. Haven’t you had that moment that became your “final straw” and it was such a non-monumental thing to someone else, but to YOU it was the straw that broke the camels back.  Well, we all have that breaking moment that makes us get up and go!

So, I am speaking to myself today in regards to this special person in my life, knowing he could apply for numerous positions and probably be highly considered.  However,  that is obviously NOT the encouragment he needs and wants for now and maybe not ever.  My role is to be his quiet cheerleader, an encourager of life, to remind him that he has great gifts many others enjoy.  I am standing down.  On a fun positive note, I have learned so much about new executive jobs and  thier requirements.  It has inspired me in great ways.  Nothing was wasted and much gained!

Have a wonderful weekend Ya’ll.

The Juxtoposition of Isolation

I think most people when faced with heartache can withdraw from others.  Whether the need is to deal with the shock of a situation,  to not face what would seem like embarrassment, or to just plain hide from the world.   Gaging your own heart and personality type,  only you will know what is healthy and where your boundaries lie.

My mother has a broken heart right now.  Her best friend of 40+ years is in ICU and her prognosis is so not positive.  My mom hurts! She has loved this best friend for so long.  They have ridden the wave of marriage, divorce, children marrying, grandchildren, girl lunches, trips, a stong faith in Christ, tears and lots of laughter.  This best friend is getting ready to leave this world for a new Home.

While some of her friends are handling their grief by talking about their friend, the newest prognosis after talking to the nurses, etc, my mom needs to get quiet and think.  She’s reflecting on her many wonderful years with this best friend.  She’s isolating to some extent.  It’s not an unhealthy type.  It’s how my mom processes big life moments.  It’s how I do as well.

There are many personality profile types.  Do you know yours?  Do you know your closest loved ones style?  Knowing how you naturally tend to process the joys and heartaches of this life give you the genuine freedom to heal.  To take with you what aspects of this grief you can use for good; to become better, stronger, more compassionate, loving, and to be a blessing to someone else!  Check out the DISC and 16 Personalities.  There is a brief questionnaire which will pretty much nail your style.

There is a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 4:12 that says, “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Some will say that it is not healthy to isolate.  And, this may very well be the case! If your type tends to be beautifully gregarious or a precious butterfly extrovert, then too much isolation is not good for you.  We need to pay attention to our loved ones or anyone for that matter that we know as an extrovert and they have been isolating too much.  They may need you.  In fact, step into that relationship to help them cope with their broken heart.  As an introvert myself, I need to isolate to process heartache.  In knowing and loving the Bible scripture above, I do always have a close few that are aware of my heart condition.  I’m selective on who I open up to, but they know my style and quietly love me through those times in life.  There is a delicate balance of being in someones business, giving them space, and lovingly walking the walk hand in hand.  This could be literal or figuratively in regards to hand in hand.  I’m a huge believer in hugs too, so those I love get lots of genuine hugs and hand holding if they want/need that.

Do you know that your life matters? Do you know how many people on this planet, your life and story have impacted in a POSITIVE way?  Your kindness to a stranger that you had no idea needed it.  Your showing up to comfort someone at just the right time.  Making someone laugh a great gut laugh,  radiating your heart from within, and giving of yourself have blessed others in this world!  Let others bless you in your time of need and don’t ever get so down that you forget the heartache you are experiencing needs to be used to help another.  You are needed in this world. There is still a plan unfolding for you to impact others and build them up for good!

Only you know your heart and needs to isolate and then to emerge.  Stay close to someone you trust.  That’s a key word in times of heartache; trust!  For me, I lean on a strong faith in Christ who sustains me in deep heartache and my day to day life.  I also have a sweet precious group of girlfriends and a SELECT few family members I open up to help me process life.

Remember who you are.  Remember the gifts you have been given at birth to use for good and love.  Remember, you will prevail better and more lovely.

The 3 G’s – Gifts, Giving, and Gain!

  • Where do your thoughts go when you get relaxed and quiet? Is it with or towards a specific person?  Do your thoughts run to a time frame of memories?  Are there regrets you play over and over in your mind?  Do you second guess the decisions that you chose?
  • Guess what?  If you do this, do you realize that you are NOT alone?!  Each one of us have regrets. Each one of us miss someone or miss numerous people or a place.
  • How do we get past these hurts, these regrets, the opportunities passed, and missing someone?  I’ve HATED hearing that old adage, “time heals all wounds”!  It’s horrible when you are in the throes of pain.  Yes, there is truth in it,  but what if you want the pain, regret, and loneliness to stop NOW?!  What can any of us do to ease the pain now?  The holidays are hard.  We see “family” commercials and movies.  We hear of our friends shopping for their loved ones.  We are innately driven to love, especially in this season that was placed in our heart supernaturally, and if we hurt it seems to be so magnified.
  • I’ve also heard this other adage and I think it’s STUPID, “there is always someone who is worse off than you”.  Well, I’m not into comparing at all and I don’t wish anyone else pain.  It makes me happy to wish joy into another’s life.  We need lights in this world to lift and give love along our paths. Be that to others!  So, that is my point!  Be the light YOU NEED!
  • If your heart aches, truly aches of a broken heart, get your pitiful HINEY up and go to an orphanage or shelter and volunteer.  There are CHILDREN out there with NO parents to love them like they should!  Give them your time and your attention.  Read with or to them.  Listen to them.  You will make a difference.  I am not belittling at all your grief! I have been in such low places and in those low places, I had to show up and put a smile on to help someone else.  Every part of me wanted to just cry out loud and tell of MY heartache, MY sadness, MY story.  Instead, I gave my smile.  Instead, I gave two ears to listen, genuinely listen to whomever was there.  Instead, I thought about THEIR situation and what they shared and ideas, solutions, or ways to comfort them.
  • It helped me to GIVE to someone else.  I have a heart for loving and appreciating women and especially children.  That’s my heart draw.  Maybe yours is for animals or the elderly, volunteering at church, a prison ministry or wherever you feel a NATURAL call on your life and pull on your heart.  Do not dismiss this gift you feel and have!   That’s where you are suppose to be!  It’s the place that you are suppose to GIVE YOUR STRENGTHS, even when you feel like you have none.  Sometimes, when you feel the weakest is when you give THE MOST and have no idea of the impact it will have on another.  Think of a bigger picture that maybe in YOUR heartache, you are able to actually notice another’s need.  Their need for love, their loneliness, their pain or abandonment…. You are giving of yourself to help them heal, actually being there for someone in their time of need.  Do you ever forget those that showed up in YOUR time of need?! No! You hold them near and dear to your soul until the day you leave this earth!  Be that to someone else! It’s a free gift.
  • By being open to being there for someone else in their heartache, you begin to heal your own heart.  You soften.  You strengthen.  You grow.  You pass time, the time that seems to go at a snails pace.  You learn to see life with less judgmental eyes.  I know how easy it is to hunker down in your own home and bed, hibernate, and fade from the world when you’re broken.  But, giving back to another broken heart is such a precious thing.  I love win – wins, and this is a win win! Find your God given desire or gift and start there.  Don’t be too analytical about where you think you feel led, just act!
  • In this season of joy and giving, if your heart aches….GIVE. And if I can add you to my prayers, because I wholly believe in the power of intercessory prayer,  please comment below and know you will not be forgotten and will be prayed over.
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