How to Become an Encourager

Years ago, while I was in the midst of some difficult circumstances, I met a wonderful woman who had committed herself to living her life as an encourager. 

We saw each other once a week at a Women’s Study Group and were occasionally able to have a few moments of private conversation where we would share with each other a little bit about our personal lives. 

Because she had committed herself to the task of intentional encouragement, every week like clockwork, I received a beautiful card in the mail along with a hand-written note of encouragement and assurances that she was thinking of me and that I was not alone.

There are people all around us who are struggling and could really use some encouragement. Sometimes all a person needs is a smile from another person. Other times we’re prompted to become friends with someone who needs encouragement (like my friend did with me). 

Often, we have good intentions that we never follow through on.  If you’re thinking (good) thoughts about someone, let them know.  Send a text message, email, card or note, or pick up the phone and call them. 

No one knows your intentions until you make them known.

My sweet friend didn’t know all of the details of my circumstances, but she intentionally chose to come alongside me to encourage me and to build me up. She chose to invest her time, energy and even her finances into my life. 

Her support and encouragement infused me with hope and helped me to realize that the difficulties I was facing were temporary and that I would be okay. 

Never underestimate the impact of what a kind word or gesture can have on a person.

Her life and example inspired me to intentionally become an encourager as well. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is a sacrifice of time, energy, patience and even finances. But it is rewarding. Not because the person you’re encouraging will give you something in return (because it has absolutely nothing to do with that) but because you feel better for doing it. 

Imagine what could happen if each person would put these simple things into practice and choose to intentionally become an encourager. I think we would change the world.

My friend was intentional about her intentions and it certainly made all the difference in my world and in the lives of my children. Because of my choice to become an intentional encourager, my children have grown into adults who know and show compassion for others. They have actually become unintentional encouragers because it was simply a way of life for them while they were growing up!

In a world where there seems to be more negative than positive, it’s easy to become jaded, guarded and discouraged. But when we choose to become an encourager we create an atmosphere of positivity and the world certainly needs more of that!

For more encouraging words, hit Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a Newsletter!

 

Twigs Flowers & Gifts in Yerington NV

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it only appropriate to share a little bit about our hometown flower shop – Twigs!

 

Twigs is a beautiful little shop on the south end of town, providing wonderfully creative floral designs to Yerington residents. Owner/Designer, Tracey is passionate about creating both beautiful and one-of-a-kind arrangements for her clients.

 

The shop is filled with unique and upscale gift items, household goods, soaps, lotions, jewelry, chocolates, a selection of baby items and plenty of other goodies!

As you can see from the photos, Twigs is all geared up for Valentine’s Day! This is just a sampling of what Twigs can provide for your special someone. It’s a wonderful place to shop for a great gift.

If you aren’t a local resident but want to send flowers or a gift to someone in Yerington, Twigs is happy to accept your order and to provide exceptional service to your gift recipient. Visit their website here!

And if you’re in Yerington, stop by, say hi and take a look around!

 

 

 

Words of Wisdom for Young Parents

The kids when they were all teenagers.

It’s amazing how the everyday tasks of house and home can help to provide words of wisdom for me to share with young parents!

One day several years ago I was feeling particularly self-satisfied with my accomplishments around the house. I had cleaned it from top to bottom and it felt great.

Just a couple of months before that, I remember looking around my house in disgust and asking my teenagers, “Do you remember when I used to keep the house so clean we could have eaten off the floors if we wanted to?”

The three looked at me, a bit puzzled and replied, “We don’t remember how clean the house was, but we remember how crazy, scary you got while doing it!”

I was horrified by their response, but they were right! I did get crazy, scary when I would clean. And not because I dislike housework. In fact, I like cleaning!  I think it was more because I would get frustrated that the house wasn’t always clean because you just never know when one of those home decor magazines is going to show up at your door and want to take pictures! Just kidding. Sort of.

But my kids’ honesty humbled me and as I pondered their words, I realized my error.

A long time ago, I had fallen into a trap. A trap that said I had to be Suzie Homemaker, Betty Crocker, Joan of Arc, and Mother Teresa all in one.

It was a train of thought that said that in order for me to truly be a good wife and mom, I had to perform a certain way. It was exhausting. And unfortunately, I remained in that trap for several years.

You see, my children didn’t care how clean or dirty my house was. They cared more about how it affected me.  They noticed more whether I spent time with them or on housework. They shared with me how they felt as if I cared more about how clean the house was than I did about them! The very thought of it brings tears to my eyes!

Through life and circumstances, I was freed from that way of thinking and began to relax a little bit more. I learned to choose my battles more wisely and how to make the best use of my time. And I gave up the idea that anyone was going to show up for a photo shoot of my house.

But by this time, my children were teenagers and didn’t necessarily want to always spend time with me, but when they did, I absolutely jumped at the chance!

The years go by too quickly and I now see that I wasted some of the best years on things that don’t matter as much as I used to think they did.

Parenting isn’t easy and thankfully, the children don’t hold it against me. Most of the time they laugh about it and make jokes about how “crazy” I was. Thank goodness that I’m better now – mostly. Ha!

As for Mr. SBF, he has never said anything about the cleanliness (or dirtiness of the house) – ever.

He’s always thought of me as Suzie Homemaker, Betty Crocker, Joan of Arc and Mother Teresa all rolled into one. And I suspect that it shall remain so for the rest of our days.

 

So, when all is said and done, what matters the most in life is spending quantity, as well as quality, time with your loved ones. Don’t pass up those opportunities for making great memories. The days go by quickly and before you know it, your children will be having children!

Don’t get side-tracked by the mundane things in life. Instead, cultivate a life of purposeful interactions and by the time your grandchildren are born, you’ll be a pro at having fun and making great memories!

Right now, we’re awaiting the birth of our grandson. His due date is the 18th and we’re on pins and needles, just wishing and waiting for the call from his daddy, announcing his arrival. What day will it be?

Check back soon or follow us on our social media pages to find out! Until then have fun making great memories with your babies!

 

Baby is Coming!

When I was a young mom I remember people telling me to enjoy the time with my children while they were little because time goes by so quickly. I would smile and nod while wondering to myself if I would survive the toddler years.

Now that my children are grown I realize that I was given wise advice. The child-rearing season goes by extremely fast and before you know it, they are grown and having children of their own. That’s the season we’re in now. “Grandparent Season”!

How can it be that my sweet little round-headed boy, my “Baby Pumpkin”, “ManBoy” is going to be a daddy? Wasn’t it just yesterday that he was enjoying his first Christmas? And then the next day, his first birthday? Weren’t we just struggling with toddler tantrums and experiencing his strong will for the first time? Not very long ago we were dealing with raging hormones and temper flares that challenged us to our core.

Yet, here we are. ManBoy is all grown up and he and his beautiful “Watermelon” are starting a family of their own!

In a month, grandson number three is due to make his entrance into the world, to fill our hearts and our home with insurmountable joy. We are looking forward to this little and can’t wait to spoil him “rotten”!

For us, this winter means, “Baby is Coming!”

Check back with us soon for updates about our little’s arrival!

 

Weight, Struggle and Love

I find women’s clothing sizing methods to be extremely bizarre. You go from Girl’s sizes to Junior’s sizes, to Women’s sizes and on to Plus sizes. Girl’s sizes are identified by even numbers, Junior’s by odd numbers, and for Women’s and Plus sizes, it’s back to even numbers. Seriously? Who came up with this?

All my life I have struggled with my weight. I am five feet two inches tall with German bones. And when you’re only 5’2″, a few pounds up or down on the scale makes a big difference in your appearance.

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of my body and when you’re self-aware from a very young age, it has an effect on your self-image. For me, my physical body-image has almost always been negative.

In junior high school, I was in the double digit sizes for Junior’s clothing (size 11 or 13) and for someone who’s 5’2″, this is chubby. I was painfully aware of my weight while going through puberty which did a number on my self-esteem. By the time I entered high school, I was sure that no boy would ever be interested in me and that I would never get married (which was extremely tragic to me because what I  wanted most was to get married and have children).

The summer between eighth and ninth grade was kind to me and somehow I managed to lose some weight. When I went new clothes shopping for my Freshman year, to my surprise, I was a size nine! I was ecstatic and my self-esteem was boosted significantly. I concentrated on my studies and tried not to concern myself with boys. In the middle of my Sophomore year, I got a part-time job as a file clerk in an office. I was quiet, kept mostly to myself and most of my co-workers thought that I was in college. I didn’t tell them otherwise.

When I started my Senior year of high school I was a size five. Imagine my elation. Even a fair number of schoolmates noticed…and commented. But the boys still avoided me. I remember talking to my mom about this. She chuckled a bit and said, “Honey, the boys avoid you because they are afraid of you!” What the heck? I thought she was crazy.  She then explained to me that my self-perception was askew and that I was so used to seeing myself as “chubby” that I couldn’t see myself for what I was. And according to her, I was petite, thin and full of sex appeal.  She said that this coupled with the fact that I was a serious-minded girl made high school boys “turn tail and run”. What?! Now it was my turn to laugh.

The funny thing is, she was right. On graduation day a boy I had a crush on during Freshman year walked up to me, gave me a hug and said, “I wish I had asked you out but I was always afraid of you.” Oh my goodness, I thought I was going to fall over! Instead, I laughed and told him that it was okay because there was a guy that I worked with who wasn’t afraid of me.

I was still working for the company I had gotten a job with during Sophomore year and by Senior year I had come out of my shell a little bit and had gotten to know a few people. One in particular. He was some years older but took a genuine interest in me. Some may think that’s creepy but that man and I got married.

After I gave birth to our first daughter (Girl1), my mom took me shopping for my birthday. I needed some new clothes because not many of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit. Before I got pregnant I was still a size five but four months after I had my daughter, I was a size two, the smallest I had ever been. And can you believe that I still complained about my thighs?

It’s been a long time since I’ve fit into a size two and I have spent my whole life learning to be confident in and with my body. I still fail in this area at times but I try not to obsess over my clothing size and concentrate more on choosing things that flatter my body. And perhaps more importantly, I am confident in who I am.

My sweetheart has seen me at my best and at my worst, has loved me through thick and thin, through three pregnancies and encourages me when my skewed self-perception gets the better of me.  It’s been thirty years and he is clearly still physically attracted to me and tells me on a regular basis that I am beautiful. He is my biggest fan and my longest admirer. He is mine. And really, what more could a girl ask for?

If you want to hear more about our story, subscribe to our website and leave us a comment!