Tag Archives: Hope

30 Days of Thankfulness-Day 15

16 Nov

Today I am thankful for: My mom!

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Growing up I never realized how amazing of a woman my mom was. I thought she was pretty embarrassing and dorky. She wasn’t concerned with the latest fashion trends or what kind of car she drove, quite the opposite; she cared what kind of mom she was.

It wasn’t until I turned 16 that I began to see her a new light. After multiple affairs and always coming and going, my dad left our family for the last time. She ran a daycare out of our house so she could be home with my sister and I. She finished high school, but that was her highest form of education. My dad was the “main bread-winner,” so I worried about how her life was going to change. I was afraid that she was not going to be able to provide for herself and that she would end up going back to him because that was all she ever knew. I under estimated this woman. I had no idea that behind a humble and modest outward image, lye a fierce, bold and courteous fighter inside. She was about to show me lessons in life, I will never forget.

When we lost our home and car, we were forced to move into my Grandparents house where the three of us shared a room. She was working three jobs making minimum wage, saving money for a new car and eventually her own apartment.  Nothing in life seemed fair or made any sense to me, but my mom never lost hope. She would constantly pray. She would find the good in a bad situation and everyday that she woke up, she was fighting. To me, she was fighting a battle I could not understand, but she did and that was enough to get her through some very dark days.

I can’t recall exactly how long after we moved in with my grandparents that she had saved up for her own apartment, but I wont forget that day. As she turned the key and opened the door to her one-bedroom apartment, she was beaming with gratefulness. Even though the journey that led her to that front door was paved with heartache, betrayal, suffering, loss and brokenness, she remained thankful and confident in the promise that God knew the plans He had for her. She put her faith in that promise and knew that somehow and someway, He was going to give her pain purpose.

Fast forward 15 years… Today my mom is a much different version of the woman she once was. She is a living breathing example of a what can happen to a person’s life when they choose victory over defeat, thankfulness over self-pity, and God’s will over their own. She taught me one the most important lessons a parent can teach a child; when you are going through hell… keep on going. 

My mom will never really know how much I admire and honor her. She is everything I want to be. She is not only strong but she is hilarious, beautiful, caring, generous, compassionate, loving, honest and enduring. She took a bad situation and allowed it to make her better. She is not one to wait for things to change… oh no, she just starts changing them. She makes the people around her, strive to be better themselves, simply by the way she lives her life.

Mom, thank you for never giving up. Thank you for being hard on me when I was chasing the ways of this world. Thank you for Every.Single.Prayer, sent up to heaven on my behalf. Thank you for seeing more in me than I was able to see in myself. Thank you for choosing to love me when there wasn’t even much to like. Thank you for loving Jesus more than anything and for showing me what a real mom looks like. You are my inspiration and I love you to the moon.

I’m Not Waving; I’m Drowning

20 Sep

“I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.”

These are the words of a British Poet named Stevie Smith. Her most famous poem lent its title to a collection she published in 1957, simply tilted “Not Waving but Drowning.”

Her brief, twelve-line poem pictures a dying man thrashing about in the surf, gesturing wildly, yet unable to attract the help of people passing by on the shore. The passersby see him, but they think he is waving. Some walk on, and some even wave back… leaving him to drown.

Have you ever been there in your life? I sure have and more than once. I recall a very specific time where my arms were flailing all around and people would nod and wave because that is what they thought they saw me doing, little did they know, I was not waving; I was drowning and about to go completely under.

The funny thing is that a wave does not always mean that someone is saying,”Hello” sometimes it means they are saying,”Help.”This was my reality when my entire world was crumbling right before my eyes. All the things that I thought had value or gave me value, had disappeared and I was left with a brokenness that made every part of my being ache.

I don’t think people knew how bad off I was. I think that I had become so good at wearing “masks” to cover the “real” me, that when I wanted someone to see my wave as a cry for help, they saw a hello.

But, God saw me. He saw me struggling to keep my head above the water. He saw the turmoil in the very pit of my soul. He saw the pain, emptiness and very deep-rooted wounds that had created such brokenness.

In this book, the author talks about a gift that her son gave her one year for her birthday. He saw an advertisement in a magazine for a stepping stone kit. In the magazine they showed a picture of the finished product and it was beautiful. The boy was very disappointed when the kit arrived and inside was, as he described, “A box of broken things.” His father had to explain to him that he would use the pieces to create his own pattern and make a unique, one-of-a-kind gift for his mom. Once he understood this, he went to work, and she said that stepping stone was perfect. All the pieces were arranged in the very order he had placed them, and what she loved most was that he had scribbled in the concrete, “I love you, Mom” with his finger. That special stepping stone is in her back yard and every morning when she goes outside to drink her coffee, she sees that stone… that gift, that means so much to her, but was once just “a box of broken things.”

I believe that God sees our brokenness… but also sees the final product, what only HE can make from that it. When we come to him in pieces, lost and needing to be “repaired,” He gets to work. He begins to strategically place all the pieces of our brokenness and make something that becomes a unique, one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

I love Isaiah 43:19, which says:

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

So many times we feel like we are going to drown but that is because we are too busy looking behind us, and not ahead. We let our past become the focus of our future. You cannot drive a car if you are looking in the rearview mirror. You have to look through the windshield, and I truly believe there is a reason the windshield is MUCH bigger than the rearview mirror. That mirror has been strategically placed over the windshield so our eyes can catch a glance of what is behind us, before we return our gaze on what is ahead of us.

I am so thankful for the redemption I found in the cross. Without the cross, and what Jesus did on it, I am a HOT MESS. I believe with all that I am, God is asking us to leave everything behind, and follow Him, because he has something brand-new in store of each of us, just as he promised in Isaiah. He knows if we are waving “Hello” or “Help.”

So in closing, I pray that if look at the state of your life right now as “a box of broken things,” that you will make a decision to not let it stay that way. I am so glad that I finally gave up and surrendered everything to the Lord. I allowed Him to grab my hand, and drag me to the shore.

I am looking forward to Chapter 2… The title alone already has me excited and I pray that each of these entries will encourage you, just as they are me!

So, until tomorrow… Many Blessings~ Summer

If you had to give up one vice, what would it be?

22 Aug

Vice (noun)- an immoral or evil habit or practice. Synonyms: fault, failing, foible,weakness.

  If I had to give up one vice/weakness, I would give up how much I worry AND I am sure my husband would be so thankful!

I worry about everything. Our finances, the kids, my family, health issues, if I have offended someone, where my future is going and how I will get there. I worry about my husband being happy and if my kids are going to turn out okay. If there is something to worry about, then I am sure I do. But as I sit here and acknowledge this, I have to wonder why. Why do I worry so much?

Perhaps it’s because I was a single mom for a long time, living pay check to pay check praying that ends would meet. Maybe it’s because as a teenager my father walked out on our family leaving my mom to support my sister and I, and she eventually lost everything.  Maybe it is because I feel that I need to control my environment and I find security in that; OR maybe it is very simple… I don’t trust God enough. Sadly, that is the answer. I have put my faith and hope in myself and what I can control rather than in a God who is so much bigger than me.

“Matthew 6:25 says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself.” Worrying robs us of today. I know this is true because there have been so many times that I have sat worrying about things that never happened, only to realize later that I wasted precious time.

So, I am setting a new goal (and Erik if you are reading this, you may find sticky notes around the house as a reminder… just a FYI) I am going to let God be God and Summer be Summer. Meaning, I am going to trust in Him more and in myself less. When I start to worry, I will remind myself of His promises and that He will take care of me and those I love. I am going to worry less, trust more and enjoy today.

Blessings, Summer~

The Value in Today

21 Aug

 

He kissed his wife and 3 month old son goodbye and headed out the door for a fishing trip with one of his friends. He has been going to the same lake in Oregon since he was a boy. He knew the in’s and out’s of that place like it was nothing.It was in an instant that everything changed and somehow on the way in, the boat he was capsized into the really cold waters leaving him and his friend to fight for their lives. Sadly, his body was consumed with hypothermia and as hard as he fought, he didn’t win. He died doing something he had done over and over again.

 

I heard this young man’s story as I was on one of my evening runs. My eyes were filled with tears because sitting at home were my babies and big girls and it got me thinking… I run this particular route almost everyday. It is a 4 mile loop around where I live and I could probably run it in my sleep. When I lace up my shoes, put on my earphones and head out to the street, I never think… “I may not come back from this run.” No, I think, “Ahhhh, 30 to 35 minutes of ME time.” I am sure that young man did not kiss his wife that day thinking it would be the last time he ever saw her face. He assumed, like we all do, I will be back soon, life will go on and I will live to see tomorrow.

Every single one of us has an invisible clock over our head. It is counting down the days that we have left here on this earth and not one of us knows then that clock will stop ticking. So, what are we doing with each moment we have here? More importantly, are we making valuable deposits into the lives of our spouse, children, family members and friends?

I am learning that it’s never to late to start. As I continued to listen to the message they spoke of his memorial service and one after one, people got up and told stories of how this ONE man had made an impact on their life. This is my hearts desire. If something was to happen to me tomorrow… I want my husband to know that he was my dream come true and since meeting him, I have become a better person. I want my 4 daughter to know that they are my treasure. I cherish them for the life they have given to this once lifeless soul. I want my mom and sister to know that there are NO words to explain my love and appreciation for putting up with me and for all the amazing memories we have. I want all my family and Erik’s family to know that they mean everything to me.

We are not guaranteed tomorrow, although most of us will wake up and have a “tomorrow” but we need to value and cherish today. We need to love the ones who love us and pray for those who don’t. Go, kiss your husband or wife and thank them for all they do for you. Tell them just how much you love them. Grab your kids, young or old, and hug them, letting them know how proud they have made you. Call your mom or dad and let them know how lucky you are to have had them as parents. If you cannot do that because they are no longer here, than simply thank God for allowing them to be in your life.

There is so much value in TODAY! Go out and find it.

Blessings ~ Summer

Your Past… A gift or a curse?

9 Jul

My past! For many years it is has been a place of shame, secrets and regret. I place I never wanted to go back to and many times wish had never happened. It is a place where I was so afraid that if people ever knew about it, they would look at me so differently. It was definitely a curse; until just recently when I found myself in a situation where my past, once a place of darkness, was used to bring light.

This situation made me really sit back and “reevaluate” my past. Times in my life that I never thought could have any good in them, or areas that were so full of pain, are now being used to help others and heal me. These areas that I never wanted ANYONE to find out about, are now what God has me leading with rather than sitting in silence.

My past is a gift.  I sit here and I can say that I am actually thankful for it. It has not only been the tool God has used for me to reach out to others who are hurting and feel alone, but it is a reminder of how BIG my God is and without Him, how small I am. A past that once defined how I felt about myself is now a means to relate to others without judgement and with humility.

I love the Bible for one simple reason… It is full of pasts, and like mine, not very good ones. It is a book full of stories about people who made poor choices, who were selfish, who disobeyed God and put themselves first. It is written about idolators, prostitutes and murders and God said, PRINT IT. He did that because he knew my sins even before I ever made them and knew that I needed to see that he does so much with a past like mine.

The problem is that so many of us, are so afraid of what others might think of us if they knew the truth about who we really are or were. I would pick and choose what “sins” or mistakes to share with others. We remain silent and hope it never comes out, when all the time, God wants it to come out. He wants us to share the filth and pain so others can see how great He is and how He changed us from what we were to who we are.

I now wonder how many opportunities I have passed up to help someone is a dark time because I was worried about what they might think of me. God does give our past and pain,  purpose. It is a gift but we have to be willing to open it. That is the hardest first step to make. Remaining silent, or keeping that gift in the box is never going to do any good. It just sits there and can’t be put to use the way it was intended. It is like buying a computer but never taking it out of the box, turning it on and using all it offers. The same goes for those things in our past that we hate most.

Your past can be the enemy’s greatest weapon OR God’s greatest tool. You are the one who makes the decision whose hands it falls into!

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