You Are Beautiful…just as you are

You…that reflection you see in the mirror…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

If you are like me, it is sometimes hard to see past the extra pounds, the wrinkles, and the hair that just won’t do what you want it to do. God sees past all of that and we should too.

He created us, every little thing about us. Our looks, our gifts, and yes, even our quirks. All of these things are what make us special and unique.

I know it sounds cliche, but it is truly our inner beauty that matters. That’s what people remember about us…a smile, a hug, or just being there to listen. Our beauty from within comes from Him…spending time with Him, reading His word, and trying to live like Him.

So the next time those negative thoughts start creeping in…remember who you are and whose you are. You are a child of God and…

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Blessings to You!
Melissa

I am linking up with Holley for the 2014 Encouragement Challenge – will you join us and help spread the encouragement love?!

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Finding Love ~ It was there all the time

Hi Friend! I am joining up with Holley and some friends each Wednesday for Coffee for Your Heart. I wrote a post yesterday for the topic “You’re Loved”. I am now rewriting it. I felt God telling me to start over and open up more.

I have to tell you that opening up is very hard for me. If I open up then I have to share my hopes, my dreams, my insecurities, and my failures. I’m the girl that puts a smile on my face each day and says “I’m fine” even if I am struggling and hurting on the inside. I don’t want to bother others with my problems. I just want to be there to help them.

When I saw the topic for this week I started thinking a lot about my past. I haven’t always felt loved. In fact, it has only been over the past few years that I have felt truly loved. Sure my parents love me and I know my husband and children love me too, but there was always something missing. A void that just couldn’t be filled.

I was saved and baptized when I was 7 and I knew that Jesus was my Savior, but I never had a close, personal relationship with him until recently. What a difference! I am learning to ignore the lies that I have always dealt with. You know the ones…You are not good enough, You are not pretty enough, You are not strong enough.

I am no longer looking for something or someone to fill the void. There is only One that can complete you and that is Jesus. He loves you, He comforts you, He gives you all the strength you need.

I hate that I wasted so many years looking for more when He was there waiting on me the whole time. My sweet Jesus, the One that came to earth to die for me ~ Who loved me before I was ever created. There is no other love like that.

I AM LOVED! And you know what ~ so are you!

Do you feel like something is missing in your life? Are you struggling to get by right now? Do you feel alone?

My friend, He is waiting. He loves you and He is always there for you. He pursues you and wants a relationship with you. He will change your life!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

Love and Blessings to You!
Melissa

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2013 ~ A Year of Change, Growth, and God-Sized Dreams

What a year! As I look back over 2013, these words come to mind…faith growing, reconnecting, confidence, God-given dreams, stepping out of my comfort zone. This has truly been a year of change and growth for me!

I wasn’t sure what to expect at the beginning of the year with my God-sized Dream Team, but I knew God had included me for a reason. Holley’s book was inspiring and helped me to open my heart to whatever God has in store for me. Our team has become more like a family. A group of ladies that love and encourage one another.

My dreams have changed over this year. I have to admit it was hard when God shut a door or pushed back a dream I was excited about. I would love to see some of those dreams come true, but it will be in His timing or He might have someone else in mind to do it. I just want to focus on the plans He has for me right now.

I have to tell you that I certainly didn’t expect to be sewing and starting a new business at the end of this year! I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to buy something I had made. I am still amazed that I sold so much over the past two months. I don’t know where it will go from here, but I am excited to find out. I know I’ve got to catch up on the other side of the business – making dresses for girls in the Dominican Republic and Liberia. What a blessing it would be to be able to deliver some of these dresses myself in 2014!

I love how this business has brought me and my husband closer too. He has been so supportive. He bought my embroidery machine as an early Christmas present, he goes to the store to buy the fabric I need, and he delivers and ships orders. We make a great team!

The best thing about 2013 is my relationship with my Father! This is an area of my life where I have struggled. I would give Him most of my life but not all of it. I have a hard time letting go of the planning and trusting that He will provide. If things aren’t going the way I think they should then I try to step in and take care of it. I am thankful for His grace as I work on this. I can tell you that I do more praying and less worrying and taking control now.

I had a hard lesson during the year that ended up making my faith stronger than ever. I went on several interviews to go back into teaching (and a lot more pay), but nothing worked out. I couldn’t understand why He was closing the door on each opportunity. Didn’t He want us to be better off financially? What I realize now is that He wanted me to depend on Him. I didn’t see how we would ever get through the year on my current salary. We have made it and He has taken care of each need and blessed us more than I could have imagined.

2013 was definitely a year of changing and growing. I look forward to this new year and how God will change me and use me!

I pray that each of you has a Blessed New Year!
Melissa

Are you ready to go after your God-sized dreams? Join us at this beautiful, new website and get ready to see what God does in you and through you!

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New Year ~ New Word: What is your One Word for 2014?

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I can’t believe in just a few short days it will be 2014! A new year, new goals, and a new word. I found a great devotion about finding your one word. It is a 4-day devotional on the Bible app…https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/809-one-word-that-will-change-your-life. I am on day 3 and I believe I have my word ~ Strength. At first I didn’t think it was a good word for me, but God led me to this verse…

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5

I have never considered myself as strong. Actually, I have seen myself as weak, lacking confidence, and looking for approval from others most of my life. I have been growing and changing over the past few years though ~ realizing that I am the King’s daughter and He loves me no matter what! My confidence comes through Him and I only need His approval. What a difference this has made in my life and in the lives of my family. 

No, I can’t be strong on my own, but with God I can be and I can do anything through Him (Philippians 4:13). This is a verse I have read over and over throughout my life, but this year I choose to believe it and live it. This year I will rely on God’s strength and follow His plan for my life. I will make myself available to Him and believe that ANYTHING is possible!

How about you? Have you found your word for 2014? Please share it when you do – I’d love to hear from you throughout the year about how God is using you and your word. I believe God has amazing plans for us in 2014!

(Do you need a button for your One Word? Let me know and I will create it for you.)

Happy New Year and Blessings to You,
Melissa

Slowing Down to Savor Christmas

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Hi Friend! Yes, it has been a while since I sat down and written a post. Lots going on around here lately!

I felt like writing today because I think there are other Moms out there that are feeling like me and I want to let you know that it is okay.

December 1st…a new month…a new start…so many wonderful plans for Advent and Christmas! After one week, this Mom is worn out, stressed, and feeling guilty. You too?

I keep thinking to myself ~ How am I ever going to catch up and get everything done?

We are already three days behind on our Advent crafts, there are still boxes that need to be taken back downstairs, there is a BIG wreath sitting in front of our house waiting to be put on the front window, and did I mention the house? Oh, how it needs a good cleaning! Lots of plans for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness that have not been put into action yet and very little shopping done.  At least our sweet elf, Noell, just like to move around, read the Bible, or leave sweet notes. He will certainly not be making any messes in our house – we have enough of those right now.

And to top it all off…our kitten decided to knock our Christmas tree over at 1:15 this morning! Four of my favorite ornaments were shattered. I am so thankful for my husband! He told me to go back to bed and he would take care of it. As you can imagine, I am dragging this morning.

The crazy thing is that I feel better today…yes you read that correctly!

I have a new perspective on Christmas this morning. I realize that I can’t do it all and I need to give myself some grace. I need to take a deep breath, relax, and take each day as it comes. I have my calendar out and will do a better job at planning our days and activities. But most importantly, I will focus on why we celebrate Christmas.

Right now, my favorite thing each day is to read my devotion in Ann Voskamp’s new book, The Greatest Gift. She helps me stop and reflect on God’s love and the Gift He gave us so many years ago.

This morning I went back to yesterday’s devotion and read this part…

The greatest gift God graces a soul with is His own presence. So the whirl can hush and the spin can slow because He will bless, and He will bless with Himself come down. The present is His presence, and the greatest present you always have to give is His presence – looking into someone’s eyes as you listen, refusing the wrong of rushing, lingering long enough to really listen – to everything.

So my friend, slow down and savor time with your Savior and time with your family and friends. If the other stuff gets done ~ Great! If not, that’s okay too.

Sending you Love & Blessings!
Melissa

Shopping to Share ~ When Passion and Purpose Collide

Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like everything was finally coming together? A time when you really felt God working and showing you which way to go?

I have been on an incredible journey this past year. Being a part of Holley Gerth’s God-Sized Dream Team and reading her book has changed the way I live my life. It hasn’t always been easy and I have been so lost and confused at times. There were times when I couldn’t understand why God was closing doors on what I thought I should do. I am now starting to see why those other doors were closed.

Want to see where God has led me? Read the rest of my post over on Rosanne’s blog… http://rosannebowman.com/2013/11/14/shopping-share-passion-purpose-collide/
She is hosting a Shopping to Share series…lots of ways you can purchase gifts with a purpose this year.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

One Year Ago…the email that changed everything

Wow! One Year…I can’t believe it has been year since I got THE email from Holley Gerth. The email that welcomed me to the God-Sized Dream Team!

After a moment of excitement, and then panic, and then tears, I knew God had a plan for me. I had been just getting through this life for so many years. It was time for me to push fear aside, step out of my comfort zone, and become who He wanted me to become.

Happy Birthday to this amazing group of 100 women and Happy Birthday to our strong, sweet, encouraging friend who brought us all together!

I never knew how awesome it would be to have friends all over the world. Friends that I have never met face to face, but friends that listen to me, encourage me, and pray for me. Only God could pull all of us together and create such a bond.

Because of this group, I am now willing to step out and do whatever God calls me to do. My faith is stronger and I am more confident. I know I have a friends that will pray for me when life gets tough and celebrate with me when things are going great…all it takes is a post on Facebook.

I am looking forward to meeting some of these incredible ladies over the next year. I can’t wait to hug them and thank them. I am also looking forward to seeing how God continues to change us and use us.

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Thank you again, Holley, for being so faithful and encouraging me to go after my God-sized Dreams! Love you!

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Being Thankful…even through the pain

What a week! If you had told me last Friday that my head would still be hurting this Friday, I would have thought there is absolutely no way I could get through that!

Well…I have gotten through it, even though it has been extremely hard.

I have cried and I have been angry and I have prayed for God to just help me.

The hardest part for me was the four days that I could do nothing. I took pain medicine to help me sleep so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain. I wasn’t able to spend time with my family, no cooking, no sewing, no nothing. Four days of my life just gone. That is hard to accept, especially when you are spending a month trying to change your life and live with purpose. I am trying to let that go and move on.

I have to say that I am very thankful for my husband and my mom. My husband held me and listened to me cry and fuss. He made sure I ate and drank and took my medicine. They both made sure our kids were well taken care of.

One of my co-workers told me this morning that I was so hopeful. I do wake up each morning hoping that the pain will be completely gone. Can’t wait until it actually happens!

I do have hope and my hope comes from my Savior. He has been with me the whole week. He gives me strength and wraps me in His arms when I feel like I can’t take any more. I am weak, but He is strong!

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Well it is a new month and it is one of my favorites – one I think I need right now – a month of being thankful.

It is hard to be thankful sometimes. I have to tell you that I am more thankful for some things than I was last week. I am thankful I can spend time with and take care of my family. I am thankful I can get up and go to work. I am thankful I can drive myself where I need to go.

When I get home today, we will start our Thankful Tree…this is something we started last year and enjoyed. Each day we each take a leaf and write something we are thankful for. Last year I had to limit the times Reagan could write Legos. :-)

Other things I like about this time of year are…relaxing in front of a fire, Georgia football (well, when they are winning), baking, crafts with the kids, and time with the rest of our family, After this past week, I will be even more thankful for these things.

What are your favorite things about this time of year? Do you have a way to show thanks this month?

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Day 24 ~ Stubborn & Quirky…accepting others the way God made them

Have you ever dealt with a stubborn, quirky child?

My middle child has made it tough to be his mom sometimes over the past 10 years. He has also made me a more patient and understanding mom. One that recognizes that we are all created differently by our Father.

I used to get so upset with him, now I just accept him for who he is. Yes, he can be stubborn and kind of quirky, but he is such a sweet, loving child. He has a dry sense of humor and he loves to draw and build with Legos. He is extremely smart and writes amazing stories.

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This morning though we had to deal with the stubborn/quirky part…

It was COLD this morning. The first really cold day we have had. I suggested he put on pants and a jacket or at least a jacket with his shorts. But no, he said you don’t wear a jacket with shorts and he didn’t want to wear pants.

Okay…off we went to my mom’s house. I think he realized it was cold (just like Mom had said) because he wrapped up in a blanket in the car.

My mom had some clothes at her house and he reluctantly picked out some pants to wear. The best part was when he said it was hard to switch from shorts to pants in the middle of the week. This should be something done over the weekend. He also said he wished he lived in a place where he didn’t have to switch back and forth.

I just shook my head and laughed about it when I got in my van. What a boy! Something that most people don’t even think about or care about really bothered him.

He is different and it drives me crazy sometimes, but I love that boy with all my heart! God made him this way for a reason and I look forward to seeing how God uses him.

Do you have a stubborn and quirky child or were you? I’d love to hear from you!

Living with Purpose…accepting others the way God made them.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

 

Day 23 ~ Live & Learn

Being a mom is so hard sometimes. You hurt when your child hurts.

My oldest is in 8th grade and at a new school this year. I was so thrilled when he told me he had decided to run for Vice President of his class. He wrote his own essay and had to give a speech to his class. He felt really good about it.

Well they had the election yesterday and he didn’t win. He called me as soon as he got out of school and sounded so sad. I wish I could have waved a magic wand and made him feel better, but I know these experiences are part of growing up.

He feels better today. He knows he is loved and we are so proud of him for trying. I know this is just the beginning though. He is growing up and has so much to go through. I pray that he will look to his Heavenly Father when things get tough…and I will be there to listen and hug him tight.

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Living with Purpose…listening to and loving on my child when things are hard.

Blessings to You!
Melissa