When You’re Feeling Like a Failure

When You’re Feeling Like a Failure

This week on YouTube I am sharing some encouragement for you who are dealing with really hard times.

In the past couple of weeks many of you have opened up to me in letters and messages about feeling like a failure as a mom.  Oh my sweet friends!

Let me assure you that your child’s success in life does not depend on your level of perfection.

It would be impossible for you to not leave large gaps in your child raising.  That’s where God steps in and fills those gaps in ways you never could.  Yes, you mess up and sure, you could have done better.  I KNOW I COULD HAVE!!!  But I also know that my children have a heavenly father who is perfect in all ways and He will fix what I did wrong.

And your kids aren’t perfect either.  They will make some doozy mistakes in their lives and there is nothing you can do to stop it.  Trying to keep them from ever suffering will only keep them from knowing the truth of a God who is there for them in their deepest time of need.

Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Read the whole chapter of Isaiah 41 for some deep encouragement!  When you are feeling like you are alone, turn to the Bible for comfort.  When you are consumed with the pain of heartbreak….He is there.  When He feels so far away and you don’t sense His presence like you used to, He is still there behind the cloud and taking care of your every need.

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I am walking through my own trials now too and I know the depth of the grief many of you are experiencing.  Some days I think my heart will literally break in half from the pain I am feeling.  Then I read a passage in God’s Word that comforts me and gives me a break from the hurting.

And remember, He lost His son too.  He knows your pain.  He cares.  He is ready to rock you to sleep and give you unexplainable peace.

Be sure to check my YouTube channel for more encouragement.

 

The Most Magical Place on Earth

The Most Magical Place on Earth

I was quiet on the blog last week because my family went on vacation….to Disney World!

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It was a dream come true kind of trip.  We had been planning it for about 6 months and even though we didn’t know it then, the timing was amazing.  We all needed a break from the difficulties going on at home.

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It’s more proof that God knows what is ahead for us and sets His plans into motion to take care of us. 

With so many of us there, it was hard to stay together so we ended up splitting up most of the time and meeting all together for dinner each day.  We tried to stay connected, but you know how it goes.

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We did manage to ride a few rides all together.

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We would divide into groups and I ended up spending most of my time with the two youngest boys.

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It was fun just to ride whatever they wanted and see the shows they were interested in.  We rode the train around Magic Kingdom and the carousel and everything the older kids had no interest in.

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But don’t think I had a slow paced time.  I love the roller coasters and occasionally I would sneak off with the fast action crew for some thrill rides.  The more loops and twists and turns the better in my opinion. (the girl on the end is a sweet friend who went with us)

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We would use our fast passes then run right back around to wait in line to ride the ride again.  Fun, Fun and more Fun.

Speaking of fast passes, I want to shout out how amazing our Disney travel agent was.  Amy, from Polka Dots N’ Wishes planned the whole thing for us and got us a great deal!  Plus she gave us tips for things we would never have discovered on our own.  I was thrilled with their service and will use them to plan another trip again for SURE!  If you’re going to Disney, contact them and let them know I sent you.

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It’s so great to be in a place where you look normal wearing costumes.  But my Minnie Mouse ears were hurting my head, so the next day I made my own.  I may start wearing my hair like that all the time.

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We met quite a few celebrities….including the biggest celebrity of all.

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I even made friends with a Lego muscle man.  He’s a little angry, but he’s still cute.

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While it was an amazing trip and I would do it all again, I am hoping to go back again with just James and I.  It seems weird at first to think of going without our kids, but then we realized we were spending the entire time doing what everyone else wanted, taking people to the bathroom, looking for lost hats, finding people to trade pins with, etc.  It’s what a parent does and we were totally glad to do it.  But it also sounds nice to do whole thing at our own pace.  So we are thinking of calling Amy and having her set up a “Mommy and Daddy only” kind of trip.  (ignore the black man in the photo with me - it’s from a ride - just pretend that’s James)

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And another great thing about the trip….it was our Christmas gift to the family.  So my Christmas shopping is done except for a few friend and teacher gifts which I have already ordered.  Booyah!!!

Have a very merry week!

 

What I’m Giving for Christmas This Year

What I’m Giving for Christmas This Year

Y’all know I love essential oils.  It’s becoming a trend, but I have used them for about 8 years and found them to have been amazing for dealing with all kinds of issues our family has dealt with from common sniffles to depression and test taking.  I only share them with you because I want to bless you with ways to build your family’s health using natural remedies instead of synthetic medication.

And another thing I love is gift giving……so…..I am combining two of my passions and giving essential oils for Christmas!  To everyone (well, not my kids but that’s a whole different post).  Now, don’t you wish you had been nicer to me?

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Seriously, I wish I could send you all a bottle of Thieves for the winter.  I’ve been relying on it for years to get us through the season of cold weather and being shut in the house for days.

Who doesn’t want to give a gift that is unique, thoughtful and lasts a long time.  Plus you’re contributing to someone’s wellness.  I just LOVE that!

I may add a little note with each gift to make sure whoever gets it how to use it….in case they’re all like, “Gee thanks,” to my face and, “What on EARTH is this stuff?!?!” after they walk away.

If you’re already using Young Living oils then you know how great they are.  If you haven’t signed up yet, do it now!  I am sending a package of Thieves Lozenges and my favorite reference book to anyone who signs up this month with a Premium Starter Kit.

We have varying amounts we spend on people, depending on their relationship with us.  So I’ve broken down some ideas for you in price ranges.  Now, these are the wholesale prices.  You can get those prices when you join!  {hint-hint}

1. For the small gift – between $10 and $15

Thieves Spray ($9 – in fact, if you buy the three pack it only costs $7.92 each!), Christmas Spirit ($10.25), Orange Oil ($10.75), Lemon Oil ($11.25), Thieves Breathmints ($12.75)

I will give these to my mail carrier, the lady who helped me so much this year with cupcakes for a couple of parties, the receptionist at my dentist’s office who has been so patient with me, etc.

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2. For the medium gift – between $15 and $26

Citrus Fresh ($15.25), Thieves Lozenges ($18.50), EnRGee ($20.25), Peppermint ($21.50), Lavender ($23.50),  Melaleuca ($26)

I’ll be giving some of these to people like the kids’ piano teacher, our pastor, a few friends that I exchange gifts with, etc.

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3. For the larger gift – when money is no object….

What about getting someone you love started by gifting them the Premium Starter Kit?!  They’d get 11 oils and a diffuser plus a few samples.  AND I would send you (or them, whichever you want) the reference book and Thieves Lozenges from ME!  Ya can’t beat that for a great gift idea!

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If you have any questions feel free to ask!  I love helping people find their groove with the oils and learn more about them.  I know it seems overwhelming, but if I can figure it out anyone can!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram!

A Shameless Plug

A Shameless Plug

So, we have this YouTube channel that we started a couple of months ago.  It’s going really well and I really do like doing the videos as a way to share with you. When my daughter Patience came to me with an idea she had to make a promotional video for me I told her to go for it!  She could just do whatever she wanted and we would follow her lead. It turned out so sweet and I love her style. I had to show you…..feel free to share it with people who you think might be blessed. And it would bless me so much if you hopped over and subscribed to our channel. Out of curiosity, what do you use YouTube for anyway?  I like to watch Tim Hawkins videos and music videos. when I want a break.

The Ups and the Downs

The Ups and the Downs

This post contains affiliate links.

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So many of you have been asking me about how things are going with our daughter that left home.  I appreciate it very much!  I haven’t given an update because there’s really nothing to tell.  She is still gone and we haven’t had much communication with her.

What I can tell you about is how we are pulling ourselves together at home.  We have been making an effort to find our new normal without her.  It has been really hard and we all miss her terribly, but I have learned a lot about how to deal with grief throughout the past month.  And one thing I know, as hard as it is to accept, is that I can’t stop my own life because of someone else’s choices.  (That doesn’t lessen the heartbreak, but it does help with feeling permission to move forward.)

I have been reading books that people have suggested to me.  Two that have really helped are A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss and Surviving One Bad Year: 7 Spiritual Strategies to Lead You to a New Beginning.  Both of them have deeply touched on what I have been going through and helped me get not only perspective, but gather strength from knowing that other people have felt what I am feeling.

The 10 of us at home have definitely drawn closer as we work to stay in communication with each other and how we are individually handling it.  Each of the kids will come to me at different times and want to talk about it.  They will be hurting or confused and we will just chat about it until they feel hopeful again.  There is always a lesson to be learned.

I definitely have days when I feel like I can hardly breathe and just cry for no reason.  Like, hard crying.  I know that’s part of the process.   Oh, those crazy stages of grief.  I swing from one to the other over and over…sometimes I go through the first four all in one day.

Then I will have 3-4 easier days.  The weather is nice and the kids will be doing OK and I will feel closer to God as I spend time in His Word.  I will think it’s going to be OK.  And honestly, I do know that it will be OK.  I really never doubt that.  Then I will think about how long that might take and I will suddenly swing back into grief again.

OK God, I am so over this rOlLeR cOAstEr.

From a practical perspective, we have made ourselves try to close the giant hole that she left and find ways to either take over her roles or learn how to do without them.

You always know it’s going to happen….that your kids will leave.  In fact, you really want to see your kids go off and make their lives out there in the big ol’ world.  But in that knowledge, you have some comfort that you will know where they are and what they are doing and what they want for themselves.  And if you really get your dreams you are able to help them a little.  You also, under normal circumstances, have some time to prepare for their leaving.  Three months of prepping for college or wedding or moving into their own place gives you time to make the transition.

But we had nothing.  Not even a goodbye.

I think it’s natural that we need time to recover from that.

But I have said it before and I will keep saying it as loud as I can…..GOD IS GOOD!  I trust Him, I love Him, I walk with Him.

And if He has me on this roller coaster for a reason, I can accept that.  The ups make me thankful and the downs make me pray harder.

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My FUN New Christmas Wreath!

My FUN New Christmas Wreath!

I am not planning to go all out with the Christmas decorating this year.  I mean, I love it with a passion, but something has to give.

I just don’t have the energy to rearrange the furniture, put out a tree, dig all of the decorations from the storage building and hang lights everywhere.  I’ll do a few festive things and make sure the kids feel the Christmas cheer, but nothing crazy.

My lack of decorations does not reflect my feeling about Christmas.  It reflects my level of exhaustion.

I decided to make a simple wreath to hang over the couch in the living room.  I may move it to the front door after the fall wreath comes down.  But probably not.  Tired, remember?

It was so easy.  It took me about an hour to make it and I like the playfulness of it.

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I got the chipboard pieces at Hobby Lobby.  I figured out what I needed by finding a corner in the store and spreading pieces all over the floor and playing with them until I found a design I liked.  Sure I was in people’s way.  But a cute wreath at 50% off waits for no man.

The twine is my favorite, favorite twine.  I use it for all kinds of stuff.  Besides crafts I love to wrap gifts with it, tie things together, I even used it for some wedding flowers that I did for a friend.  It’s wonderful.  I get it from Online Fabrics.  That’s also where I got all of the fabric for the new cushions I put on my pool deck last summer.  Great folks over there.

Once I got home I made my brain try to remember how I laid out the pieces in the store.  My brain doesn’t work as well as it used to, so that took up about 1/4 of my time.

After I figured it all out, I held the pieces, 2 at a time, together and drilled hoes through them so I could tie it all together with the twine.

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I lightly spray painted the separate pieces.  I didn’t want full covereage so I kind of just dusted them.

I also hot glued it together.  I am no dummy.  I know you have to attach crafts together with as many methods as you possibly can.

Here’s a tip for you….to get the twine through all of the holes, dab a teeny line of hot glue on the end of the twine and roll it through your fingers (after it cools off for a few seconds!) to make a stiff end and it will slide right through the holes in the chipboard.  You’re welcome.

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After attaching them all together it was a little wobbly, so I glued pieces of cardboard to the in the back for extra support.

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Once it was all assembled I added some twine and washi tape in a few spots.  And of course, a burlap bow.  Because burlap makes everything better.

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Hang it up and enjoy for the season.

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And some of my bloggy friends have made Christmas wreaths too….lots of ideas and inspiration to get you ready for the holidays.

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(After reading this over it looks like this wreath is small, but it’s actually pretty big.  I’ll post more pics on Facebook during the week.)

 

Below you will find the links to each of the brand new 2014 Christmas Wreaths. To appreciate all the lovely details of each wreath, click on each of the links.

Vintage Wonderland Wreath from Flamingo Toes

Rudolph Wreath from She’s Kinda Crafty

Woodland Tree Wreath by Tatertots and Jello

Christmas Craft Wreath from Positively Splendid

Lumber Jack Antler Wreath from Nest of Posies

Poinsettia Wreath from A Night Owl Blog

Simple Felt Leaf Wreath from The Shabby Creek Cottage

Easy Christmas Wreath from Just Destiny Mag

Rustic Christmas Wreath from Clean and Scentsible

Glitter Holiday Wreath from A Pumpkin and a Princess

Scripted Ribbon Poinsettia Wreath from The Scrap Shoppe Blog

Rustic Glam Holiday Wreath from Sweet Rose Studio

How to make a Snowy Jingle Bell Wreath from Fox Hollow Cottage

Fun Christmas Wreath from The Pennington Point

Christmas Felt Flower Wreath by Bombshell Bling

 

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Rec Rooms and Old People

Rec Rooms and Old People

Being the last day of October I am feeling a little like waxing poetic over the passing of time.

But then I would have to think of rhyming words and watch how long my sentences are and the thought of working that hard makes my dream of becoming the next Emily Dickinson fly out the window.

Today our family will lie low and just be together playing games and hanging out.  We don’t celebrate Halloween at all….it’s just another day to spend with the family.  We may even order pizza and check the Redbox to see if there’s anything fun to watch.

For the past couple of weeks we have been turning what used to be the etsy shop into a rec room for the older kids.  They needed a place of their own to host their friends, watch grown up movies and stay up late.  By late I mean after 9:00, since I no longer have the ability to remain conscious after that.  But the kids like to stay up and talk and make noise that keeps old people awake.  It was either give them their own space or go hoarse calling out for them to “HUSH!” every night.

Good grief.  I have turned a geriatric corner.

I gave them full freedom to fix the room up however they want.  They have been pulling furniture out of storage and dragging junk in there and making it all their own.  I heard whispers of choosing paint colors, so I guess they’re going all out.  Have fun kids!  Mom will be in her bedroom taking a nap.

To be clear, the etsy shop is still in business.  We have just taken a ton of items out of the shop to make it a little easier for the boys. They have taken over the production of our top seller, the essential oil shelves.  It’s a great way for them to earn money and save for college.

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The girls are still making the jar lids and a few other favorite items.  I do all of the customer service and upkeep.  It’s a full fledged family operation.

And since we took our product list way down we were able to move the shop into a smaller space, which left the big room wide open.  I thought I might have a hard time letting go of the decorating and furniture arranging.  But it turns out that I am not struggling with it one bit.  They can turn that place into a sci-fi museum for all I care.  I fully expect a Tardis to be constructed in the corner.  I am just happy they are enjoying it so much!

Our weekend is full of plans to clean the house and get caught up on shop orders.  I also am hoping to get some reading in since I brought home about 20 new books from the conference last weekend.  And to be in bed before 9 every night.

See you in November!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!

 

Morning Exercise Tips

Morning Exercise Tips

This post contains affiliate links.

If you’ve been following me for any length of time then you know that I started exercising about a year and a half ago.  I go for a run every morning and have been surprised at how easy it really is.  And that is coming from a woman who truly thought she would never, ever be able to stick with daily exercising.  OK, I thought I would never even start it in the first place…forget sticking with it.

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Today on my YouTube channel I share some of my tips for getting your workout done daily and I talk about some of my favorite products.  I am going to give you links here to what I use, but honestly there are probably a lot of great products that are similar.  My real message is just to equip yourself and get moving!

1. UP by Jawbone  - I like that it wakes me up and that it keeps track of my steps.  BUT I just got a new band called the Pebble Smartwatch.  I like that it also is a watch and I can look at my steps throughout the day.  So it just depends on what you want.

2. Lift Caps – I have shared with you before about how much I love these supplements.  You can read more about them HERE.

3. Essential Oils – I put on oils every day before I go out.  I use Valor and some kind of pick-me-up like peppermint or lemon.  Then I also put on an oils that will help with something specific I am dealing with.  Lately I have been using bergamot because it is supposed to help with grief.

4. Led Armband - so the cars that drive past can see me as the mornings get darker and darker.

5. Earbuds -Yurbuds and my very favorite earbuds.  I love them so much.  I can’t imagine not having my music when I exercise.

Oh and speaking of music, be sure to check out my workout playlists!

6. OtterBox - I love my Otterbox for keeping my phone safe while I run. I take it off and put it back on every morning.  I like to use a wallet style case for the rest of the day.

7. Wrap Sunglasses - It was a great day when I discovered that there are sunglasses made especially for people who are active.  They don’t fall off and they are super lightweight.

I get most of my workout clothes at Target.  I don’t have anything fancy, just simple and easy to throw on and go.

I really, really hope you will get up and start taking care of yourself.  I want to say that I rarely wake up and think, “Hooray!  I get to go workout now!”  I have to make myself do it.  I pre-decide not to let myself use lame excuses to skip it by only letting myself miss if there’s a time restraint (like I have to leave the house before 8:00).  I even did a short walk everyday last winter when I was sick.  I think it helped me get better more quickly.

I know you can find a way, even if you don’t have a road to walk on, to get some exercise.  You can do a DVD (here’s my favorite!) or dance around for 15 minutes.  Do it for your health….you are worth it!

 Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly videos of encouragement!

A Pair of Red Boots

A Pair of Red Boots

Last month when I was in Nashville with my favorite peeps from Tommy Nelson I got myself a pair of red cowboy boots.  It was a Friday night in the heart of downtown Nashville with drunk people, weird street performers and of course a LOT of music!  But I was with a big group of friends which made it fun and my boots will always remind me of spending that time with those amazing women!

I have never owned cowboy boots before so this seemed like the perfect time for me to get my first pair.  After I got them I wondered if I would really ever wear them.

So I decided to make it my mission to wear them for the whole month of October and force myself to find outfits to wear with my boots.  I’ve been showing what I am wearing on Facebook all month and so many people have asked where I get my clothes that I decided to do my best to remember and share the info.

This first outfit was an obvious choice.  A denim jacket (so in style right now) from Old Navy, the skirt is also Old Navy and the belt is from anthropologie.  The brown tights are from Target.

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On another day I wore this linen dress made by FLAX.  I have on the same skirt as in the above picture.

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Here I am wearing another Old Navy skirt (it’s the same skirt as above in a different color) and the t-shirt is from there too.  It’s called a 5/8 sleeve length and is great for covering up those pesky lunch lady arms.  The white top is from Target last spring.

 

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Here I wore another FLAX dress with a gray skirt from Target under it.  I got the blazer at Target last week and they have several great styles!  This dress looks a little “maternity” in the picture but it really is flattering in person.

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Lastly here’s what I wore this week.  As the weather gets cooler I am enjoying some tights.  Which, I am sorry to say, I don’t know where I got them because they are as old as the hills.  The skirt is the same one I am wearing above from Target (from last spring but there are lots of skirts there right now) and the top is by Free People (it’s available at Macy’s now).

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My philosophy on clothes is to have basics from affordable places then fill in with a few more expensive pieces.  I can mix almost all of this together in different ways and add a longer skirt here and there.  Since I like to mix it up, this works really well for me.

And that’s the story of my red boots.

I thought I might fall into not wearing them again after the month is over, but then it occurred to me that they would be perfect for Christmas!

 

Facing My Fears

Facing My Fears

Well, I finally turned in my first draft of my book.  It’s been one of those, “Be careful what you wish for” kinds of things.

I have always dreamed of writing a book.  And when I read books it seems so easy.  It’s also easy to sit in my recliner and watch the winter Olympics.  But not so easy to actually do.

It’s been more like an act of service than a living the dream.  But still very satisfying.

Last weekend while the girls and I were at the coast we decided to walk out on the dock across from our house.  It looked so nice from the balcony.  But when I stepped up to it I froze in fear.  It was a very long plank of worn wood with nothing to hold onto.  And by hold onto I mean grip with all my might until my finger ache.

As we started to cross, the girls were chatting it up behind me just skipping and enjoying the ocean.  “No talking. please,” I said,  “I need total concentration so I don’t die.”

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I inched my way across, not letting myself look at anything but the board directly in front of me.  “Don’t look up….don’t look around….” I kept telling myself. When I was a kid I had an extreme fear of water.  A few years of swim lessons helped, but I still can’t breathe when I watch a movie about someone underwater.  I would be the only person in the world to die from holding my breath in a theater while watching “Dolphin Tale 2.”

My friend who owned the house later told me, “If it helps, the water there is only about three feet deep.”

Nope.  That doesn’t help at all.

I made it across the dock, spent time on the pier with the girls watching the birds and talking about life and God’s goodness and then {cue horror music} I had to get back across.  I let the girls go first and after they were all the way across I just did it….one step at a time.  There’s definitely a metaphor for life in there somewhere.

Speaking of dread, today when I hit the send button on my book I felt that same irrational fear of death.  Why?  You can’t die from a bad book.  Wait, can you?

Wait.  Not that my book is bad.  I hope I hope.

Fear is a funny thing.  It doesn’t have to make sense.  God knew that we all would struggle with this.  I read somewhere that fear is mentioned over 365 times in the Bible.  Wowsa!  No denying that we are to fear not by leaning on Him!

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I am learning a lot lately about what I am afraid of and how much I need to put my faith in God and God alone.  I walked all the way across that dock and back again.  I was so proud of myself and my girls clapped for me.  They knew I was petrified and it was a huge blessing to show them that I could do something that really scared me.

Although let’s not get crazy…..I still don’t know if I could have done it if anyone was talking to me.