God’s blessings

I love how God blesses you with things that you can never imagine. Back in November I got into this home decor business. I felt that I was supposed to do it and that it would be a comfort to me and bring joy into my life. My words this year are Joy and peace. I knew nothing about this company but I loved watching videos on how to create things with the products. Without even trying them I signed up to be a designer. After I signed up I realized what an amazing company it is and that they have teamed up with an organization called Watts of Love.

Watts of Love

WE SEE SOLAR LIGHTING AS ONE OF THE STRONGEST TOOLS AVAILABLE TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY.

Light gives hope, creates opportunity, and increases safety.

As a secular nonprofit, Watts of Love believes that everyone has equal value, and everyone deserves an opportunity. Watts of Love believes that light shines equally on all. We meet people exactly where they are in life and serve any and all that are in need.

Watts of Love intentionally seeks out the most vulnerable people in the developing world, who live without access to electrical light. We target the “last-mile” communities in greatest need of assistance. Often, these “hidden poor” live in garbage dumps, remote mountains, small islands, urban slums, and leper colonies. 

Not only do we focus on the hidden poor, but we invest in women. Women really hold the key to the finances of the home, and statistically, when women work, they invest 90 percent of their income back into their families, compared with 35 percent for men [Clinton Global Initiative: Empowering Girls and Women].

Watts of Love is unique and innovative. We have a very intentionally designed program where we do not just hand out lights—we invest in educating and empowering our recipients so there is an immediate, tangible impact from DAY One.

I love what this organization stands for so it’s giving back to others. Chalk Couture has teamed up with them so you can donate or round up your orders to support them. Not only do I love doing the art projects but I have found it an outlet for my grief. I find it peaceful and relaxing and am able to create beautiful things. In the past I would have used addiction to numb my pain. Eating away my sorrows but instead I’m able to do this. I’ve also met some amazing designers who I learn from each day.

A couple of weeks ago my grief shifted and I felt a veil being lifted off me. Then I felt God telling me that I can go to Bend, Oregon this summer. So I’m going to my most favorite place in the world this summer. I can’t wait to see all my friends again. This is my home away from home. I was last there 4 years ago before Covid hit. Not only do I get to hang out with great friends but I also get to Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. I can go volunteer there it’s a place where they rescue horses and team them up with children. I love this place so much. There’s something about this ranch that changes lives and I’ve seen and experienced it. I also get to see my good friends at the ranch. So something else to be excited about and it helps me through my grief.

So no matter what your going through there is always light in the darkness. God brings hope. What hope has he brought you in your life?, If your still in darkness, I pray that you will see His light and promises soon.

I miss you my friend ❤️

Grief ebbs and flows like one of my friends says. Last Friday we had the Celebration of life for Wendy. It was so beautiful and her two older sisters shared stories about her as a child which most of us never heard of. I loved hearing that her Grandparents lived right beside them and that they prayed for them everyday. I heard about the fun she had with her sisters and her brother and the crazy things Wendy did. She often made decisions about things that we all would take some time thinking about. Wendy would just do it. If it felt right in her heart. Wendy was good at everything she did and it showed with all her passions. Most of us could just do one business Wendy had about 5 she did well. I loved her wisdom about so many things.

Her celebration was beautiful. I know she was looking down from heaven. It was a rainy day all day and during her celebration the sun streamed through the windows of the church. The church was full of people who knew and loved Wendy and were impacted by her in some way. Her daughters got up and spoke about their mom and all the things we have done over the years. So many amazing memories. It was very interesting because her family all knew who I was because Wendy was part of the fantastic four. It was so nice to meet all of them. I’m not sure how the fantastic four will be now but we plan on still going on our road trips and Wendy will still be with us in Spirit.

Next weekend we will celebrate a birthday in our core friends. One I’ve lost my buddy to drive up island with and two not sure how to celebrate this birthday without her. She will be missed. She was always there. Two of friends from the fantastic four will be there so it’s good that we can gather to remember our good friend.

Even though the celebration of life was hard it’s given me the peace I needed to keep moving forward. I’ve been doing lots of art projects and keeping up with my self care. I have realized that when grief comes that I embrace it and not try to avoid it and count all my blessings with my friend. Even though it’s just three of us now the fantastic four will live on. Grief is hard and I have shed so many tears. I have a big hole in my heart it feels like it will never be filled in. Something I’ve been doing is realizing all the blessings that have come out of my life with knowing Wendy. There are so many I can’t even count them. I’m so glad we became friends. I miss her terribly but know that one day I will see her again. For now I need to live my life not taking anything for granted. 🌹🥀🌹

The silence is so hard

One of my friends told me that grieve is like ebbs and flows. It sometimes hits you when you least expect it. The last couple of days in struggling with sadness. This is the longest I’ve gone with not chatting with Wendy. I find this silence almost unbearable. The day she passed away which was two weeks tomorrow they had a massive party for her in heaven. She no longer suffers and she gets to reunite with all those who were taken too soon. While she was sick her dad had passed away so she would be reunited with him.

Apparently the first year is the hardest because you don’t have your friend with you for coffee’s, lunches, get togethers, traditions. All the things we did together and it was lots. On Friday it is her celebration of life. Her daughters and her family are organizing it. Then it’s so final. It’s going to be hard but one good thing about is all the other people who I’m close to will be there. I hate so much she had to die. I miss my friend everyday. This had been the longest two weeks. I want to hear her voice, hear her laugh, just chat like we did often. They say grief is good but it hurts a lot.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what legacy you leave when you die. Wendy left an amazing one. As I said in my last blog I will take everything she taught me and apply it into my life. I sure do miss her so much. I’m so thankful that I got to meet her and her family. I’m blessed she was a big part of my life.

A friend of mine shared this with me recently.

It’s a concept by Henri Nouwen – one of my their favourite quotes.

Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving. When the child leaves home, when the husband or wife leaves for a long period of time or for good, when the beloved friend departs to another country or dies … the pain of the leaving can tear us apart.
Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.

I love this beautiful yes Wendy was worth loving all those years. She was the best of the best. Until we meet again my friend.

Gone too soon but not forgotten

Today is day two without my best friend. I can’t imagine her not in my life. I first met Wendy at the church I was going to. She had just gotten married. We hung out in the same circles and went to the same Bible study. I was in my early twenties when I met her and from the moment I met her I really liked her. She was funny and had the greatest laugh. She was good at everything she did. I loved her heart and she loved the Lord. I got to know Wendy and her oldest daughter first. My husband and I would go over to their home and play cards and board games. We did that for so many years. I was there for the birth of her second daughter. We went to rabbit shows and she taught me all about breeding rabbits and she was the person I reached out to when I needed rabbit advice. I built a rabbit business with her help.

Wendy had many good friends and we all went camping to Tofino, trips to Jesus Northwest, Oregon, Seattle and our favorite local trip to Parksville and Coombs. I don’t remember how many years the 4 of us did that but we went ever summer. We had a messenger group it was called the Fantastic four. We did everything together. In the earlier days we did Survivor parties, murder mystery nights, dinners and building traditions. Thanksgiving was always our big meal that we did at another friends home. Games nights and Wendy was good she always beat us especially at Dutch Blitz.

Wendy lived life to the fullest even when she got sick. We were all amazed at how how her faith got stronger and stronger and she fought right until the end. She did not let cancer define who she was and like her we all believed that God would heal her. We saw lots of amazing things God did and how He used Wendy in healing and building her faith in others. It was hard to watch her as she got sicker but Wendy had the best outlook on everything. She’s the most positive person when we as her friends struggled.

Wendy loved roses and even got roses to grow that had been thrown out at the store. She took it home and nurtured it and it grew into the most beautiful rose. I think of that as how God sees us. We may think that we have nothing going us and God takes us in and with His love we grow into beautiful people. Not just with people but love works with roses as well. Wendy was proof of that. Wendy made her patio into a sanctuary for her among her roses. It brought her such peace and joy.

This past July we got to go back to Coombs the four of us. Wendy had a hard time but she Managed to get through the day and we had so much fun laughing and hanging out. She told me that she was so glad she went and didn’t let not feeling well stop her from going. She even had an ice-cream because that was what she’d always done when she went there. We took our last photos of the four of us. At Thanksgiving Wendy and I drove up to another friends home and had the best Thanksgiving dinner with so many of our friends and their families. It was such a great evening and Wendy was in such good form. We never knew that, that would be the last time the Fantastic four would be together. We will always be that even though we are missing one.

The craziest thing is the day before Wendy died she was sending us messages trying to organize a ride so she could go back home. Wendy for months on end was so at peace with all that was happening and right until the end she went quickly. I have no idea how to live my life without her because she was part of it all. I’m so glad she’s up in heaven with the Lord. I imagined the trumpets playing and the grand party she got when she entered heaven.

For us down here we will all have to band together. Life will not be the same without her. She was my best friend and I’m so honoured that I got to spend so much time with her and her family. Until we met again girl. I love you ❤️

The ultimation – memoirs

After living in a tent for 3 months I became so depressed that I didn’t even want to get out of bed. My golden retriever Liberty would curl up with me. She helped me get out of bed each day. I hated living in a tent but we had only enough money for rent at the campsite. I’m so glad my good friend lived beside the campground and I spend all my days with her. I loved hanging out with her and her family. We hung out all the time. I was done living in the tent so my husband sent me back to NC to the place that we had called home for five years. I stayed with some of our good friends. My husband and Liberty stayed behind. Even though I was with my good friends I missed him terribly and my dog. That dog was my life. It was hard living with my friends and on weekends I stayed with other friends which was nice. I got to know a lot of people.

I was lonely so I used addiction as a soothing thing for me and so I didn’t have think about the mess my life was. I started to realize that so much went wrong in my husbands life. It seemed like things would be good and then something always happened and it became bad. I was tired of this. I wanted to go home. I wanted to see my family. I was so tired of my life always upside down.

About a month and a half later my husband came to NC with Lib and I was reunited with my dog. My heart soar I loved that dog. She was so happy to see me. I was reunited with my best friend. We found a small apartment to rent that was furnished in a beautiful spot in swannona, NC. The landlady lived down below and she had goats and it was right by the river. A beautiful as spot. At least we were all together again. We continued going to the church that we had gone to before and I settled back into the community.

Things seemed ok for a bit until one day the Preacher of the church showed up on my doorstep really bothered and angry. He couldn’t find our home and finally found it and demanded to see my husband who was at work. I asked him if he wanted to come in he said no he needed to go home but he really needed L to contact him when he got home. When L got home I told him what Pastor Ronald said. L was worried and wondered what he wanted so he headed out to the church.

He came home and looked really pale and after a bit he had told me that one of our good friends Lucas. He had come from Canada to NC with us but we had not seen him in a long time. He had written the pastor a letter telling him all of our things in our life. Everything he told the pastor everything. The pastor had asked him to explain himself and wanted L to come and meet with him and Lucas. L refused to go and told his side of the story.

We were told by the pastor of the church that we were no longer welcome so we were basically kicked out for what someone else had said. We were shocked and a whole bunch of our good friends walked away from us. Ones we had hung out with lots they were like family to us. We were basically shuned. Not all of them did that but my whole world came crashing down again.

I was done and told L that I wanted to go back to Canada and be with my family and if he stayed in NC I was leaving. His dad had been diagnosed with lung cancer and his brother in law had a brain tumor and he was asked to come home and help. We left our home and our friends and drove back to where we lived in Canada. It’s over 4,000 miles and it took a week to get back and we arrived back home. I was so happy to see my family and they had missed me so much.

Bullies

Bullies come in all different shapes and sizes. They come in all different ages as well. These past couple of weeks I’ve noticed that people who bully others they want control and when they don’t get it, they use every type of meanness to get what they want. I have noticed that they use manipulation, blame, yelling, bossing and whatever else they feel. It’s really interesting I thought I knew this person but realized that when they don’t get their way things can get ugly.

I’ve been standing up for myself with boundaries and ignoring the drama. I’ve had to guard myself because when they become nice they often throw in something that I guess is supposed to make me feel bad but instead I rise against it. This person has no idea that I had a step mother who was brutal with me so she has no idea that I can stand up for what she gives me. I hate that I have to be in this environment but at least I know how to handle what is happening and rise above it.

I’m keeping a diary of what is happening so that if it continues I can speak out against it. It’s amazing how many people feel it’s ok to demand things from people or treat you like crap when they don’t get what they want. That’s what our kindergarten children do. I’m not sure why people think it’s ok to treat others like that. She’s met her match because I don’t put up with it. I would never treat anyone like that. So even though I had a tough childhood I’m so glad I learned how to stand up for myself. I may not have been able to do that as a child, but as an adult I now can stand for what is right. I have zero tolerance for bullying.

Joy and Peace

My words for 2023 are peace and joy. I find both of these hard to do lately. I’ve not been writing I’ve tried many times but couldn’t get out the words. I believe that both of these words are because of the season I find myself in. One of my best friends has breast cancer and I’m still praying for full healing for her along with my other friends. She went through a rough patch recently but now is feeling better and can go home. I’m struggling with this one. We’ve been friends for about 30 years and she’s one of my core friends.

I feel peace but still struggle with what is happening. At least now she can go home and not have to go to Hospice. Home will be the best medicine. This has really made me think about my life and what I’ve done in my life so far. I love the life that I have. I love my job so much helping kindergarten children is a fun job. I have amazing friends who support and encourage me. I have an amazing church community online and in person and I continue to encourage and give hope to people.

I’ve reflected a lot lately on my life and what and how it’s come about. I guess having a sick friend will do that to you. I try to live life to its fullest and not waste any time on anything. I pulled out the toxic people in my life and that feels good even if it was family. I feel peace about that as well. I see joy in the simple things that I love as well. Sunrises and sunsets. Today driving to my appointments the snow on the snow capped mountains in the distance. Not taking anything in my life for granted.

Do you make New years resolutions or do you do words like I do? I would love to hear them. Thanks for reading 🙂

Blood is not thicker than water

Why are two people completely different when they were brought up the same why and why through the same truama. My truama made me into who I am today. It has made me into a person who is caring, compassionate and sensitive to those who are suffering and in pain. It’s given me huge insights into others that are caught in truama and it has helped me be able to educate those that miss signs of children in truama. I’m drawn to people that are being bullied or isolated from others. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I stand in the gap for those that can’t stand there.

I used to think this was a burden but now I see it as a way to help those that don’t know or understand. Truama comes in all different shapes and sizes. Truama hurts but I believe with the right help and support systems you can turn your entire life around. I’m a walking testimony to that. I still have to this day people that stand around me and surround me with encouragement, love and support me. For those of you who have read my memoirs I have sought out help to deal with my past and to finally come to a peace about it. I will never fully understand why what happened to my brother and I but I no longer am haunted by my past.

That being said I don’t think I would be alive today if I hadn’t worked so much on myself to free myself of those memories. I finally am happy in my life and learning everyday what JOY is. I choose freedom but my sibling did not. He choose to walk away from what happened and not deal with how it made him feel as a child/adult. He’s never dealt with any of it. Instead he’s set his life up so that he’s always in charge and nothing and nobody can ever beat him down.

I’ve always tried to have my sibling be proud of me and have him love me but he as long as I’ve known him has treated me badly. For years and years I put up with it and just went along with him treating me like crap. I’m the last year or so since my marriage ending I realized that I have put up with my sibling bullying me. Then when he was stressed or as something going on in my life he started yelling at me in front of my family. Both times I told him to stop and that it was no ok to treat me how he was treating me.

I set boundaries with him and told him I expected to be treated better not how you’ve treated me all these years. In the last year I see my dad in him something I’ve never seen before but now I’m in a healthy place. I see he’s become the person he hates. My mom says it’s because of his past. I tell her well I have the exact past and I am nothing like my sibling. I tell her that’s an excuse and he’s chosen not to deal with his past.

What bothers me so much about it is last night he casually came up to me and told me that the lives I do for my new business are so halarious and that him and his wife laughed so much as I did the videos. He critiqued it bit by bit and asked when I would be doing more. That’s cruel what he did. He used something that I’m working on and trashed it to no end. I remained quiet and said nothing. That hurt that now my sister in law is involved in it as well. Does it make you feel better about yourself if you trash your family? I can’t ever imagine treating anyone like that.

Obviously my sibling doesn’t care how or what he says to hurt me. Just because we are related that shouldn’t make any difference. I realized last night that he’s never going to change but I can choose not to be around someone like that. I’m Standing on the principal that blood is not thicker than water and that I remove myself from this relationship. I would not have him in my life if he wasn’t my sibling but I’m done with him treating me like this. It’s a decision I should have made a long time ago. Standing up to bullies no matter how hard it is. I hope and pray he changes for his sake but until that day I don’t want him in my life. I’ve worked way to hard to keep that out of my life. Standing up for what you believe in is hard but even harder when it’s family.

Hope for Christmas

This is so beautifully written I wanted to share it with you all. It’s written by Holley Gerth from her blog.

Hope for Christmas and always: darkness has been defeated.

holleygerth.com

The news drifts in from the other room as I sit at my desk and try to write. Heartbreaking headlines. Scary statistics. Pessimistic predictions. It seems peace is nowhere to be found on this planet and the night is anything but silent. Feeling overwhelmed and helpless I silently ask, “Lord, what do You want me to do about all of this?” And it seems I hear a quiet whisper within my heart: “The only way to get rid of darkness is to add more light.”

As much as we’d like to, we can’t go after darkness directly. We can only crowd it out with something better and brighter. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). He lives within us and wants to shine through us. Here are three ways we can let that happen this Christmas season.

The only way to get rid of darkness is to add more light.

First, we shine when we are kind. Just visit any shopping center and it’s easy to sense the pressure and stress this time of year brings. Smiles are a hard-to-find item. Fuses are short. Lines are long. By simply treating those we interact with in a considerate way we can brighten someone’s day. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

We also radiate when we are real. One of my favorite Christmas decorations is a mosaic candle holder. When a candle is placed inside it, all the broken pieces multiply and spread the light. The seemingly imperfect places in our lives and hearts can do the same. We don’t need to have it all together. We just need to say, “Jesus, please use all of me for Your glory.”

When we are real, others are drawn to us. And that gives us the opportunity to brighten their lives with encouragement. I’ve attended a Christmas Eve candlelight service several times. At the end a single flame is lit and then passed from one person to another. That’s what encouragement does in our world. Every thoughtful word or act is a spark that can spread farther than we might ever realize.

Most importantly, we shine because we keep Jesus first. No matter what anyone may say, He is still the reason for the season—and the reason for the light within us. Our Savior knows there will always be news headlines like the ones I heard. They existed the night He was born as a baby in Bethlehem and will continue until He comes again. But He also knows that because of what He did on the cross and through His resurrection the darkness has already been defeated.

So every time we see a Christmas light this year let’s remember this invitation and celebration: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you” (Isaiah 60:1). The darkness will not last forever. The light always wins in the end. And we can all make this world a little brighter wherever we are today.

What’s one small way you can brighten someone’s day this Christmas season?

MORE FOR YOU

Reflect: What’s one small way you can brighten someone’s day this Christmas?

Free Download: Do you need hope this holiday season? Download Holley’s FREE “Hope for the Holidays” sampler, featuring 21 devotions specifically for this time of year.

Hope for the Holidays form

Listen: Looking for an encouraging podcast to listen to while traveling for the holidays? Join myself, Suzie Eller, and Jennifer Watson for More Than Small Talk. (We just passed one million downloads!)

Learn: I’ve added bonus content to the 7 Ways to Thrive as an Introvert Course! If you’re an introvert and you want to not only embrace who you are but also become all you’re created to be, this is for you.