Posts Tagged ‘Encouragement’

English is my first language … okay it is my only language. Except that I am female … so there is an ‘other’ language … it is non-verbal, and sometimes believed to be a transcendent language. It is the language of how we feel.

(This is where my hubby will skip down to the bottom of the page to see if there is anything really worth reading in my post today 😉 He loves that fact that we females think with our feelings. That poor man, he has to live with three, highly hormonal, estrogen-filled, instinctual, gut-feeling, eye-leaking, heart leaning ladies! Imagine if we were to all be PMS’ing at the same time? But what is worse … and far more common, is that when one of us finishes PMS’ing, another starts … three weeks running. That poor man has only one week a month to live peacefully in his own home. But, I digress …)

I know that I am ‘normal’ as a female, in how I think with my head as well as my feelings. I am also using enough brain cells when I am thinking with my head, to know that how I ‘feel’ is not always an accurate representation of reality. There are so many times that I have met a new person, and ‘felt’ a certain way about that person (negatively), only to be (happily) proved wrong later on.

All that said, is it not the most delicious experience in the world when you come across that person who speaks your language? When they ‘know’ you, get you, understand your heart? To me, it is like a piece of heaven on Earth when that happens. And, it happened just last night!

I fell into bed late one night, knowing that sleep had already started to fall on me. But, because I was, at that time, a slave to work-related emails, I picked up my phone to see if there are any responses to emails I had sent. And, like good, ol’ fashioned ‘snail mail’ I saw in my ‘in’ box, not a work-related response, not an account summary (aka BILL), not an ad from a store, but a note from one of my daughters! It was the equivalent of receiving a letter from a loved one in the mailbox (which, of course, it is).

The following, was what I opened …

"Is there any way I can help you in the next few days?
Your helping me so much & are already so busy so I was just wondering.:)"

The words I read made my heart skip a beat! And it wasn’t just that her email reminded me of how bad grammar can be passed down from generation to generation! It was how her email spoke to me of how she understood where I am was, at that very moment … she got me … she was not just speaking my language, but she was ‘hearing’ my language too.

My response to her was that she already did help me, just by asking if she could … she blessed my heart, and my soul and my mind … because I knew when I read that short but sweet note, that she saw, that she heard, that she ‘felt’ where I was at, and was willing to offer assistance.

Woohoo! I rested peacefully that night! I went to bed with the confidence that someone else under my roof understood where my moccasins were at, and she was willing to walk in them for and with me. And, it was good!



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*This is a post from three years ago, but it is one that is relevant to ‘swim families’ past, present and future. I miss such regular reminders of grace and love that swim people show.

Well, like a bowl of bad clams (I just love this saying) we’re back! Back to what? Early morning practices, afternoon practices, wet towels, broken goggles, last spring (where I live there has been little ‘spring’ anyway) and summer weekends … SWIM CLUB.

About nine years ago, our family entered the world of competitive swimming, through our oldest daughter, then nine. With the exception of a year, SHE has been part of the speed swimming community, as a swimmer, and as a coach. Her younger sister, took a longer hiatus … about four years. But she’s back … therefore WE are back.

I was rudely reminded of what I haven’t been missing on Saturday morning, when my alarm went off at 6am … I was so hoping it was just a bad dream! And, really we were lucky … it could have been (and will be in the weeks to come) earlier … much earlier!

So, off we went, for her 7:10am warm-ups! (Yikes, throw me into a swimming pool at that hour and ‘cool down’ might be a more accurate reflection of what I’d be feeling). I drop her off, and go in search of swim meet survival tactic #1 … coffee! And once that essential need is met, I am ready to cheer, towel off, and sign up for timing races (this has two benefits .. one is it makes the time go faster, and two is it gets you involved).

The meet begins … late (I sometimes have thought that is part of the meet … starting late), and the first race is IM (Individual Medley). Now in IM there are four strokes that are to be done in a particular order, and this is how I was taught the order … butter (butterfly) your back (backstroke), your breast (breast stroke) is free (freestyle, or front crawl, for those who are old like me). So, depending on whether it is 100m (one lap for each stroke), or 200m (two laps for each stroke), the number of swimmers, and the age of the swimmer (could be as young as six years old), this race takes a long time.

There was one heat that reminded me of why I love swim club. There were boys swimming the IM, and they were about thirteen years old. When the second to last swimmer touched the pad, to complete his race, there was still one swimmer left slogging away. And he was only halfway through backstroke! So we watched, and we waited …

Watching him swim was … painful! My first thoughts were, ‘he must be a new swimmer … poor guy … how humiliating.’ But then, as I watched his arms and legs flail (and I do mean flail), I recognized how VERY uncoordinated his movements were, and I wondered, if the boy struggling in the pool (with all his might, I might add) might be one with a disability.

Then … it happened … the thing that happens at EVERY swim meet I have ever attended, when a particularly slower swimmer is coming to their finish … the crowd began to cheer. No, the crowd began to chant … his name. The building was booming with the chant of this boys name, over and over … to the finish. The crowd of family and friends and strangers, his teammates and all the team, the officials … everyone in the building was chanting and cheering him on. When he finally touched the pad, you would have thought that Michael Phelps had just broken another world record! The smile on his face said that he felt as though he had just broken a world record (and that he had given it his all). Fellow swimmers were giving him high five, and patting him on the back.

I spoke to the mom of this boy, later in the day. Indeed, he was new to competitive swimming, and indeed he lives (and she, who lives with him) with asperger syndrome. He told me he loves swimming, as he headed off to marshalling for his next race.

It was all worth the early morning practices, afternoon practices, wet towels, broken goggles, lost spring and summer weekends … just to have that taste of being part of the lives of others who struggle … not that we all share the same struggles, but that we are all struggling to give it our all.

And that boy, and all cheering him on that day, gave it their all!

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The title of today’s post is what made me smile. Those words made the whole message for me, for my baby girls, as baby girl, is one that we say with a private, shared knowledge.

But, it is message, “you can do this” that we all need, girl or boy, man or woman.

No matter our age or the role we hold in our world, we all need the encouragement to keep going. We all need the confidence-boosting of being reminded to get up, when we fall. We all need the assurance that we are loved, not because of our abilities, but because we are His.

Sarah Markley is author of today’s guest post. She is a mom, a wife, and writes a blog at sarahmarkley.com. Her subtitle is “The Best Days of my Life.” In this post, I felt God speak, through her words, to my heart … reminders of what I already know, but sometimes forget when life gets gritty.

He Loves Us So!

May you hear the encouragement of God, through these words as well.

“Mama!” My eight-year-old yells at me from the living room. “I’m gonna take my scooter out in the front!” She straps on her helmet in the spring heat and she darts out of the door in her pjs and flip flops.

She’s already taken a bath and is looking for something do to in the in-between time between dinner and bed. The light is late these days and, like many of us, she is restless.

Up and back, she races herself during the magic hour between one end of the block and the other end of the block. I go out to watch her, because like her, I’m a little restless between dinner and bed.

“Can you video me?” she calls as she scoots past. And what she is really asking is,

“Are you watching me?”

“Can you see me?”

“Do I make you proud?”

Of course. I don’t have a lot of space on my phone right now because I take so many pictures so I wonder if it will even take a proper video.

I plop in the grass and turn my eyes and my phone to watch her.  She sprints this way and the other way, and I film it.

Trying to make me proud, she spins out and tumbles {luckily} into the grass. “Get up baby-girl,” I shout to her. “You’re fine!”

I see her. I see it all. I see her successes and I see her failures, large or small.

She laughs and flip-flops across the sidewalk over to me. She unsnaps her helmet and rolls over in the grass. “Let me see it,” she begs. I give her my phone and let her watch the video of her own self.

“Look at me go!” And she squeals.

“I know,” I tell her. “You are so fast.” And I praise her and tell her that she’s amazing and I’m so proud of her.  She’s still scared of learning how to ride a bike so going super-fast on a scooter is her next-best-adventure.

We lay back in this grass and we watch the sky turn a pinch more purple and a little less blue.

And then I know that this is all we want of God. This is all we really want of Him. For Him to see us. For Him to watch us. We want Him to plop on the grass next to us and simply be.

We each have this deep-set need for our spouses, our children, our friends or even our parents to really see us. We want them to notice us. But what we forget half the time is the Creator of the universe is already out there on the spring-grass with us watching us succeed and fail – and He’s enjoying US the whole time.

He is saying, “Get up, baby-girl. You can do this!”

He is saying, “I’m watching you.”

He’s saying, “I’m proud of you.”

And He’s saying, “I see you.”

The best thing about it all is that He sees the successes, failures {all of it} – and He still loves us so.”


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Good morning!

We have made it to the end of the week, having accomplished, messed up, rested or lay awake and saw each hour on the clock at night.

Today, I just want to leave a message that I read on the blog of Susie Larson. Check out her blog … you will leave it feeling as though she has encouraged, supported and affirmed you!

May this be a day of blessing!

Start a Day Blessing:

May you begin to see your disappointments
as divine appointments.

May your spirit-eyes
open up to God’s invitation to something better,
something deeper,
something profoundly fitted for you.

May you lift your eyes
and see how your whole story
fits in the bigger story God is writing
for His Namesake.

When you’re tempted to look down in angst,
may you instead look up and pray,
not only for yourself,
but for the many who struggle
in ways similar to you,
but who don’t know how to pray like you do!

God intends to solve some of the world’s problems
through you.

Trust Him
and let Him
use you in ways that are beyond you!

Have a great day.

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This is it,

the last hurrah

the windup

the last supper

the culmination

the end of summer, as we have known it.

And, for many, Tuesday marks the beginning of another school year (of course there are those who have already been at it for weeks).

I never feel fully ready to leave home for school (as an Educational Assistant) until I can leave the house in order (and crock pot plugged in), with a plan for survival of the upcoming school year.

Today, in the guest post by Ann Voskamp (through (in)courage.me), I get to share a plan that might just help me, and us, not just survive the school year, but thrive!

If we can remember even one of these truths I think we might just be conquerors of the chaotic!

But, as for me, I’m printing this out and posting on my fridge, maybe even my bathroom mirror, and in my bag that goes to work with me.

Enjoy Ann’s suggestions for 10 Ways To Be A Happier Mom:

“1. Life is not an emergency. 

Life’s a gift.
Just. Slow. Down.


2. Now is not a forever grace but amazing grace. 

Do whatever it takes to wake to wonder right here.


3. Sometimes the slowest way is the fastest way to joy. 

Make time today, even a moment, to read Scripture and memorize it.

Without the lens of His Word, the world warps.

{Slowest=fastest to joy}


4. Laughter is the cheapest, holiest medicine. 

Preschoolers laugh 300 times a day. Aim for double that. Tickle someone, (yourself!), if necessary. This is good!


5. Motherhood is a hallowed place because children aren’t commonplace. 

Co-laboring over the sculpting of souls is a sacred vocation, a humbling privilege.

Never forget.


6. Homemaking is about making a home, not about making perfection

A perfect home is an authentic, creative, animated space where Peace and Christ and Beauty are embraced.

{Perfect does not equate to immaculate.}


7. A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. 

A minute dawdled here, a minute scrolling here — they can add up to your life.  Write down your intentions for the day and prayerfully live the intentions and spend your life well by paying attention to the moments — which pays thanks to God.

A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.


8. Believe it: I have all I need for today.  

The needs of our day are great but our God is greater and we call Him Providence because we believe: He is the One who always provides.

{And when God provides, He should be praised, and if God always provides, shouldn’t praise always be on the lips?}


9. Slow. Children at play. 

The hurry hurts the kids.

Time’s this priceless currency and only the slow spend it wise enough to be rich.

If we had to actually buy our time, would we spend it more wisely — spend it more slowly?

{God’s Word never says Hurry Up. God words only whisper: Wake Up.}


10. Love is patient. 

Parenting’s this gentle way of bending over in humility to help the scraped child up because we intimately know it takes a lifetime to learn how to walk with Him.

Patience. Love always begins with patience and patience is a willingness to suffer.



The art of really celebrating life isn’t about getting it right — but about receiving Grace

The sinners and the sick, the broken, the discouraged, the wounded and burdened — we are the ones who get to celebrate grace!

Regardless of the mess of your life, if Christ is Lord of your life, than we are the celebrants out dancing in a wild rain of grace — because when it’s all done and finished, all is well and Christ already said it was finished.”

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I forgot to prepare a post for today!

I slept in!

This is what can happen on a holiday weekend!

So, although late, I hope you enjoy this video about being a mother. I know, Mother’s Day was last weekend, but this video might just be one of those that you bookmark, and pull out in the dark watches of the night, when your are in the midst of mothering battle, when your last nerve has just been stepped on, when the world is trying to destroy your children. Or, maybe it is a video you can share with a friend who is in need of encouragement.






mothering …

We will not be broken!

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For the next week, I will be featuring guest posts, as I spend my regular ‘writing time’ preparing for a speaking engagement. If you feel led to pray for me in this regard, I would so appreciate it, and specifically that Pinterest does not pre-occupy my writing time 😉 … I am so weak !


The guest post today is a video of a song I have been listening to since it’s recent release.

This song is written and performed by Plumb, the stage name of Tiffany Arbuckle Lee. Tiffany says this song came out of her high school years when she suffered terrible physical pain, brought on by anxiety, as well as a tough season she had recently been going through. Through these experiences she has always called on God, and He has always been there with her.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31

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This week I am prepping and preparing for a speaking opportunity in May, and so the posts this week may be more the contribution of others rather than of myself.

Today, I want to introduce you to Nicole Johnson.

I ‘met’ Nicole at a Women of Faith Conference. She was the dramatist, and she weaved her own experiences into her personal learning of Biblical truths that made me giggle, sigh and sob.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend a Women of Faith Conference, GO! I promise you will leave energized with encouragement, thought-provoking learning and a sense that you have a purpose … and couldn’t we all utilize that?!

Please, please, please … check out the video of Nicole Johnson, learning about the building of cathedrals.

“Because God sees …”

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At the end of each year WordPress send me an annual report for this blog, and again this year I thought I would share it with you who read what I write.

I cannot believe that there were approximately 14,000 views of this blog, last year.

I cannot believe that views came from 103 countries from around the world (some days a view from a country I had not previously heard of will be listed).

Honestly, I cannot believe that there are any readers, because, although I do dream of being ‘discovered’ by Oprah, and offered a great book deal, I sit at my computer and click at the keyboard for very selfish reasons.

This screen that I face each day has provided for me:
therapy for my woes,
a stage for my praises,
and a voice by which to be heard …

I need to tell my stories, to share my life’s successes and failures, and to be ‘real’ with myself like I need air to breath.

Thanks to any and all who read each day or who are reading for the very first time. It really is a Wonderfilledlife!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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As I write this post hubby and our son are off on a two day trip to watch the Apple Cup (the trophy given to the university football team in the state of Washington – Cougars or Huskies). It will be male bonding at it’s best … football, cheap hotels, road trip, and the over-ingestion of flatulence-causing foods … I am so glad that I am not invited!

This trip is part of a plan that hubby and I adopted many years ago, when our kids were much younger. It all started one day as I was listening to a radio program that discussed the concept of a mother-daughter or father-son time away to discuss the years to come, and to provide opportunity to have ‘the talk’ in a less stressful, more relaxed environment. There were materials available, called Passport2Purity that provided a schedule, suggestions of what to do with your son/daughter, as well as audio and visual materials to guide discussions.

For me, the materials provided a springboard for conversations. Some of the illustrations used have been forever etched into the minds of my daughters and I simply because they were so … corny. That said, if you can use them as a guide their benefit will outweigh some of the uniqueness of their presentation (which provides shared humor, so all is good).

The structure of the program provides time for ‘learning’ but also has a strong focus on having fun together as well.

With our older daughter, I took her to Seattle for shopping.

With our second daughter, it was Disneyland.

With our daughters I was able to open the lines of communication broadly in areas such as money and time (stewardship), substance abuses and sexual experimentation (self respect), relationships (honoring one another) and future planning (using their gifts and passions with purpose), and we were able to have these important conversations before they became real issues in their lives. That premature timing, I feel, is key. Rather than waiting until your child is in a stressful, peer pressure filled situation, they can think about and even plan their decision making before it is an issue.

With both girls the trip home was the icing on the cake, with both saying over and over, “thanks for taking me away, Mom.”

Then, once back home, I got to give them a beautiful box full of letters from important people (mostly females, other than their dad) in their lives. They are the people who have been cheering them on for a year, or all of their lives. They are from women who vary in age from about ten (one is a drawing) to seventy. They are from women who share blood … or not, share faith … or not, share location … or not. These boxes of letters hold words of encouragement, words of hope, words of love to read, and re-read again as the tough stuff of the teen years comes their way. These boxes rarely gather dust, as they are places of refuge, of safely of remembering. These letters are the gifts that keep on giving.

And now it is the turn of father and son. Neither one of them knows what a great weekend they are both in for!

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