Falling in love with you… 

As I evolve and transition into the woman I choose to be on this journey one thing that has become increasingly and glaringly true is the fact that the best thing I can do in this life is love myself.  For me, this means that I am okay on my own little ‘me’ island regardless of who may come to visit or who decides to jump ship. It means I am at peace internally with the world around me and that I am able to enjoy my own company.  It means that I truly like me and do not need the acceptance or flattery of outside influences because I have an unshakable confidence about who I am.

Loving yourself is one of the ultimate tests to pass in a world where we are told we are never enough, and that we must always aspire to be something or someone else.  We are pounded with the lie that life is not complete if you don’t have a mate or something external to fulfill you.  In a society where you are always told to be or do more it can be tough to find the strength to say, I am enough!  But you are strong, you are brave and you are enough.  

Loving yourself means that you accept who and where you are, you accept your ‘flaws’, and challenges, you accept who you are at the core.  If you are overweight, you accept that, if you are needy, you accept that and if you are a nerdy weirdo (like me:) guess what you accept that too!  You aren’t in the business of hating yourself and no longer feel the need to fight against yourself or berate who you are right now.  Acceptance does not mean you must settle into these things you wish to change about yourself, but that you accept them and do not judge yourself for them.  It means that you choose positive ways to release and grow and are forgiving of yourself in the process.  It is a process and sometimes a slow one, so be gentle with you.

Think about it this way, if you love someone (and they happen to be human) you will have to accept that they are flawed, but you love them anyway while assisting them on a journey to a better them.  This is how you should love you.  

Truly loving yourself means that you become better at loving others but you continue to have an internal peace that comes with knowing no matter who or what may enter your life, you are going to be okay.  You become free from searching the world for love, you are free from the ache of unrequited love, free from the fear of loss and your world doesn’t crash and burn simply because you have no one else in it to love you, because you are always enough.  

True selflove is freedom.  It is knowing and embracing the fact that you are complete and whole in this moment but if you aren’t there yet it’s  absolutely nothing to stress over.  Each new day presents an opportunity to love on you, wake up tomorrow with the goal of having a day filled with love for others and yourself.  There will be times when you may fall away from this view, lose yourself in relationship or your mentality attempts to shift to one of not being your best, make it a point to feel those feelings but also intentionally do the work to get through them and concentrate on loving you fully.  After all aside from God you are really all you have in the end.

It’s grow time! So let’s get started with loving yourself first.  One of the greatest things you can do for yourself is to love who you are! Accept your flaws and quirks, and always build yourself up that way no matter how much people may try they can never tear you down! 

For some additional tips on loving yourself completely, click here or here. 

Have any additional words of advice or nuggets of inspiration please leave them below in the comments!

These are two video from awesomefest that I enjoyed based on selflove thought I’d share!  (one day I’d really love to present at or attend a fest!!)

Love you lots but God loves you much more!

Be blessed,

Court☺️

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7 things I learned in 2015…

1. Life doesn’t owe you anything nor is it fair: And pretty much all we can do is deal with it!  I’ll admit, I went through a period in my life where it was all about me and I always wanted things my way.  If things didn’t happen the way I wanted, I would sometimes find a way to manipulate situations so they fit  my vision or  I’d have  full blown tantrums (even adult ones).  As I grew in my 30’s I began to understand that life was not all about me and there were other people with needs and desires and all I was doing was alienating people I wanted relationships with through my selfishness.  As I matured and slowly began to shed the mentality of a spoiled only child and embraced the fact that the world did not orbit around me.  This year I extended that learning to embrace the fact that life, no matter how much I may want it to be, is not always quite fair but that doesn’t have to hinder my progress and most of the time that fact only adds to my growth.  Speaking as a child of God I know that it is through Gods unlimited grace that I am where and who I am, but I realized I had to stop worrying about the fairness of my past and push forward from where I stood, after I have been extremely blessed.  But there will always things in life we seem to be unfair, for instance I wondered if my choices in men would have been different had I not experienced some of the things I did and one of the biggest things for me has been that I would look at people born and raised in the church and see how mature they were in Christ already, and I envied that.  I would sometimes get upset because I felt like I had to play catch up a lot later in life and honestly that kept me stagnant.  But I had to realize that people are born everyday in the most unsavory of situations and still they rise, these people have embraced the fact that although their situations weren’t perfect or ‘fair’ they still didn’t wait for life to hand them anything, no matter what age they ‘woke up’.   If you have goals for the year ahead, don’t dwell on your past, don’t think about envy someone else’s achievements and go grab your own.

2. You will always have waver worthy moments:  and there may be times your faith wavers because of them.  There may be times you fail or don’t feel like moving forward and it is okay.  Even my pastors wife, who I see as a strong woman of God has discussed having a waver worthy moment when she was diagnosedwith breast   cancer.  Life isn’t a smoothly paved road it’s an obstacle course full of hills and sometimes mountains.  It’s only natural to want the easy way out of growth, until we realize there is no easy way.  In these moments when you choose to face the fire rather than run you may shake and grow fearful but the important thing is to remember the foundation you are built upon and always return to that truth.

3. You need people to help you grow: Even the ones you don’t like! Some will call them our soul mates or life teachers, but they are people that will push your boundaries of growth.  They can be best friends, family members, coworkers, strangers on the street, but they ultimately push us to grow and change.

4. Sometimes life just works out: Without your help.  And many times better than we expected if we just let go of the reigns.  All the worrying and stressing over small things can and if done enough will make you sick.  In times where I was able to trust and let life work itself out I’ve usually gotten the absolute best results.

5. We are not robots:   Obviously! and with our lack of steel, cold exteriors and programmable feelings comes emotions and for a long time I was fearful of expressing my feelings.  For whatever reason I was ashamed of my sadness and held in expressing joy at times when I wanted to do cartwheels.  I hid who I was for fear of judgement.  Until recently I’ve learned that life is an emotional roller coaster.  There is nothing wrong with expressing sadness, anger or joy for that matter if it’s done in a healthy way and you don’t have to feel guilty, ashamed or bad for doing so.

6.  Life sends you wake up calls:  Sometimes we must answer even when we want to send it to voicemail!   My father is one of the most gentle, kind hearted souls I have met on this life journey.  He has always been there for me without fail and seeing him age over the years I grew fearful of the day that he wouldn’t be.  When he was given a diagnosis this year that pretty much shook my families foundation it was somewhat of a wake up call for us all.  Sometimes the tragedies in life are what brings us closer.  Everyone deals with pain differently, so attempting to get someone else to hurt like you will never happen, but expressing how much that person means to you in the midst of dealing with pain is pretty much all you can do.   As my mom tells me, we have to love each other while we are here & although I knew this going into 2015, I can’t say that I’ve always put it into action.

7.  Achieving inner peace and emotional stability is simple:  But one of the most difficult things you may do in life! When the world around us is pulling on our emotional heart strings it can be difficult to not lose it and be manipulated by events into overreacting, losing your cool or just turning into a blubbering mass of human-ness. We have emotions, there is nothing we can do about that, nothing.  The journey to emotional maturity  looks different for everyone, but the benefit is the knowing that you will be all right, the understanding that this too shall pass and the ultimate benefit of true inner peace.  Once things that go on around you aren’t able to affect you at a core level, or at least take you into an emotional tail spin you are at peace with uncertain endings and can breath easy. It’s a simple concept, once you understand and begin to practice it, but the ‘getting there’ and ultimately ‘staying there’ takes effort, consistency and sometimes a lifetime.

God Bless & Happy 2016!

Court

What do the lonely do for the holidays…

There’s a sense of hopelessness that can come along with being alone for the holidays. I’m not speaking of people that make the choice to alienate themselves, but those that have no other options, no families or friends around.  It can be quite depressing if you let it get you down. Although I’m blessed to be spending much of my Christmas Day with my parents, this Christmas Eve has been quite a struggle.  For whatever reason loneliness and sadness has been a prime player in my days leading up to the holidays.  I avoid stores as I don’t trust my tears, they seem to come at the most inopportune times like when I run across giddy couples or giggling babies, as I’m reminded that I don’t have that in my life right now.  It can push you to the point of losing hope, to the point of searching through countless numbers of YouTube videos to find out if God really does answer prayers, or is it just yours that He seemed to miss.  For some it could push them to the brink of not wanting to do it any longer, not wanting to live another lonely day.  

So what do the lonely do for Holidays, how do they cope with the unwanted solitude? I don’t pretend to have all the answers, or any for that reason but I know that you must hold on to even the smallest amount of faith you can muster.  I know that helping others gets your thoughts off of your own problems and I know that running to people to heal you won’t.  For myself, I have to believe that my loneliness and struggles will serve a greater cause and praise Him through it all, through the tears, through the anger and the hurt.  It’s difficult, it is I know, but in the end I pray it’s worth it.

God Bless

Court 

When you can’t be friends with your ex…

It can be a hard pill to swallow that the person you once and still love has moved on to someone else and no longer shares the same feelings for you, but it happens. You can feel abandoned, lonely and heartbroken.  Trust me I’ve felt it.  It’s not a great place to be and you’re wondering how you can move forward without this person in your life. I have a couple of tips that may help as I’m currently feeling the sting of heartbreak myself.  Although I’ve tried thinking of my ex as just a friend, I know that until I no longer have feelings for him in the capacity of a significant other I can not have a friendship without always wanting something more.  These are some reasons that I personally know I can’t immediately be friends after a breakup.

  1. When you have told them how you feel: Tell them how you feel and if it’s meant to be there may be second chances down the line.  If however this is not the person for you, it’s a good chance that you may not want a second chance and that it’s better to just leave things where they are, work through the pain and move on.   In my case I did want another chance to make us work and he wanted to just move on.  When this is the case and one party is over the relationship and possibly moving on you should define they try your best to do the same no matter how much it hurts.
  2. When you’re setting yourself up for failure: normally being friends after a break up will lead to one party getting hurt if the other has started dating and seeing other people seriously.  To save yourself some heartache don’t try the ‘lets just be friends’ right away as a lot of times it’s much easier for the party that’s moved on.  This isn’t to say you can never be friends eventually, but make sure all feelings for that person have dissipated first and there’s no chance of restoring a deeper connection, especially if they have already proven that they aren’t looking for more.
  3. when you know there may be animosity: In my case I know I would have had some animosity if we continued to try and be friends because I wanted more and he didn’t.  It hurts like he land it may take several try’s but go out, mingle with other people and just have fun with life, you’ll soon meet other people that will help kee your mind off of your ex.
  4. When you know that you deserve better treatment: If your ex wants to just be friends and keep you around to serve their purposes knowing how it makes you feel, then you deserve much more!  Plus, theperson meant for you, will ultimately stay with you, unless the circumstances are toxic.  If he or she left, they weren’t the one and they were probably meant to be lessons in your life.

of course this may not be true for everyone, and each person is responsible for how they proceed in relationships. Life and heartbreak go hand in hand unfortunately, how you deal with will lead to Getting over it sooner, or dragging the process out, the choice is yours.

God bless

Court

6 ways to speak love in your relationships…

From time to time in our relationships, including familial and platonic connections, we may begin to take the people in our lives for granted.  In these cases, we can often choose to direct our focus from the continued work of building our union to the laxity of disconnection, even if on a subconscious level.  When the stagnation begins to overtake a relationship it can be easily broken by the effort of speaking love to your partner, friend or family member.  Like fresh air this can ultimately breath new life into your connections!

Encouragement You can practice encouragement in many ways, but there are two that I’ll focus on here: verbaland  physical.  Verbally telling someone how proud you are of them or how great of a cook they are can truly build a sense of love in a relationship.  Physical encouragement comes in the form of support.  When I first started my t-shirt company I felt truly encouraged because I had the support of my family and friends.  My mom would encourage me to get my shirts in stores and she would tell anyone that fit the audience about my book.  I had friends that took cards and placed them all over the city and my ex attended shows with me all over the US helping me sell items for hours and hours all in the name of support (and love of course).  When you truly love someone you’re invested in them and their dreams because they are a part of who they are.  I knew my family and friends loved me not only because they said how proud they were of me pursuing my goals, but because they put actions to the words.  It didn’t have to be big, it could be as simple as sharing their current endeavor on social media.   But also keep in mind that the encouragement should always come from a genuine place, not one of manipulation, flattery or wanting to impose your views on someone else’s efforts. 

Respect Honoring that persons presence by speaking to them with tones and other verbal cues which reflect respect is a large part of speaking love into your connections.  Always attempt to Express gratitude for the gift of who they are and their role in your life through your expressions and interactions.

Protection Speaking from a sense of guarding each others hearts in relationship  and not just physically but showing that you are committed to keeping this person safe on all fronts is crucial to security.  If that person knows that you will use their own words against them later on, they won’t want to share with you who they really are.  Protection can consist of numerous concepts including protection of that persons character, heart and ultimately soul by pulling them closer to God consistently.

Silence Sometimes the best way to show love is by keeping your mouth shut or as one of my favorite preachers, Heather Lindsey, would say invoke he spirit of shut-up!  This one is might be difficult for me as I always have something to say and often feel as if I’ll burst if it doesn’t eventually topple off my tongue.  Practicing the self-control involved with quietly allowing someone to make their own mistakes without a big I told you so or not being spiteful and vindictive with your words can be difficult, but mastered. Taking the time to quietly mull things over before speaking or give them to God to work out can have a powerfully positive impact on your relationships.

Dependability Being a woman or man of your word, doing what you said you would or being where you said you would be are all large partsofbuildinf a string foundation in relationships.  We all have that flaky friend that says they are going to be somewhere but never shows up, unfortunately there are plenty of times that I have been her!  Once we come to expect someone to blow us off or not keep their word it often starts to place cracks in the foundation, your .  James and Matthew tells us to let our yes be yes and our no be no and in other words, do what you say you’re going to do.  Everyone falls short and within the expectation of dependability there has to be some grace shown simply for human frailty, no one can be perfect all of the time, but if it’s a consistent pattern it will make the person you’re in relationship with wonder about your integrity and seriousness. 

Grace As I stated previously grace plays a large part in speaking love.  By extending grace to our loved one we are allowing them to mess-up and not be constantly ridiculed or berated.  They know that you are a safe place where they can come and feel free to be themselves.

Do you have any other ways you choose to express love in your relationships?  Please feel free to share in the comments! 

God Bless!

Court 

 

 

 

Enough…

I have this guy in my life and we’ve been on and off for quite some time now, at least six years.  Honestly, I’m  usually the cause of our off times as he’s sweet, gentle, kind and best of all a man of God.  The only draw back is it’s sort of long distance so there can’t be any regular hugs exchanged or hands held, which is something that I consistently desire.  So our relationship usually consist of me picking up my phone reading his messages or sometimes spending hours talking and listening to him.   But there are times when I want more and long for the closeness of someone that’s here, that I can touch or see face to face.  When I tell him this it sometimes breaks his heart because I know that he has given so much to have our relationship.  He understands my longings but often times he replies by asking me, am I not enough?  My answer varies, but I truly always want him to be enough, I always want to keep him first but honestly it can be a struggle at times when fleshly and impatient desires rise to the surface.  But I long for the day when with all my heart I can truly say yes Jesus, you are all I need, you are enough.

Court ☺️

11 practical ways to make your man feel special…

In relationships I’ve made many mistakes, but there has also been plenty of right choices thrown in with the wrongs.  It’s been on my mind to share some of the little ways I’ve learned to make a man feel special.  I compiled this list from things that I’ve done or haven’t done and wished I did!   Sometimes  it’s the little things that count the most and these are all pretty simple to do (for the most part). I’m speaking solely from a romantic partnership perspective, but most of these can work in any type of relationship. 

1. Say it with a note:  Leave little notes from time to time in his pillow or in his lunch bag just to remind him of how special he is to you.  This is something I love doing with a significant other because I know finding a little ‘I love you’ note or appreciation message every now and then would make me feel awesome!

2. Send an impromptu message: Send a short text, email or Facebook message just to let him know you’re thinking of him or praying for him throughout the day.

3. Congratulate him on big goals.  Flip the script and treat him to dinner or send a token when he’s accomplished a goal he set out to achieve.

4. Be there to listen:  even if he doesn’t want to talk, embrace and love on him especially if he’s had a rough day.

5. Greet him with a smile: After years of being together the butterflies may have fluttered away, but it’s still important to greet him with a smile and some enthusiasm at his arrival.  It’s easy to get lax, I know because I’ve done so in the past, but it will only make him happy to see you in return.

4. Listen for cues: know what he is loves doing or is needing and try to surprise him with it.  Is his birthday coming up and he loves basketball?  Surprise him with tickets for the game or just cook all his favorites.  Does he need a purple tie, pick one up the next time you’re out.  Either way he’ll feel special knowing you listened and took the time to get to know his desires. 

5. Step into his world:  watch a game or two with him even if you aren’t into sports like myself.  But if it’s something he enjoys make some time to sit with him through at least some of it.  Or if video games are his thing play with him every once and a while.

6. Don’t nag:  okay I’ll be honest, this is one I struggle with immensely.  Sometimes I get tired of hearing myself and have to make a conscious effort to shut up and take a sea!  It can be extremely difficult to have the self control to say things once and see how it plays out but in the long run it’s usually worth it and saves on added frustrations possibly arguments. 

7. Pray for and with him:  one of the times I feel loved most is when someone takes the time to intercede on my behalf.  Although often times this happens in my prayer closet if I’m dating someone and we do pray together I’ll make sure to include them. 

8. Be supportive:  share in his efforts to help him accomplish goals and dreams in life.  Hand out fliers, promote his business on Facebook, tell others about his endeavors and speak on his behalf when he’s not there.  

9. Encourage him:  I speak a little bit more about being an encourager here, but make sure to build him up and speak life into his spirit!  It’s something that can so easily give way to tearing him down when we focus on the negatives or down men as a whole, these things only breed resentment, hurt and anger.  If this is an issue for you as it has been for me, I’d recommend reading Proverbs 14:1 and commiting it to memory for times when you struggle!

10. Grace him:  People are human, so of course he’s going to do somethings you don’t like because no one is perfect.  In moments where we may want to go off or berate him, think about how it might affect him and your relationship in the long run before saying something mean or hurtful. If he is willing to listen and take ownership of his faults there is always a way to speak the truth in love. 

11. Serve him:  if you’re married or cohabitating, you can do small things like draw him a bath after a long day at work, plan a romantic evening, bring him breakfast in bed every once and a while or get his car washed.  Since Jesus calls us to be servants what better place to start than in our own homes.

God bless!

Court 🙂

How to get over it and get on with your life…

One thing about most relationships is that at some point they end.  Wether it’s due to a fall out, death or just a natural parting of ways, relationships change as we have come to know them, it’s inevitable.  But what happens with the collapse of a relationship that you didn’t expect or want to end as quickly as it did?  What do you do when you want to move on but just can’t seem to get the person out of your head no matter what you do?  Below I’ll give you 4 D’s that have seemed to work in my favor when trying to get over an ex.

Decide: the main thing you have to do is get your mind and heart to line up so that they are on the same page.  If the relationship ended because of something you did or if it’s an ex you can’t seem to get over you have to make up your mind that you aren’t going to focus on the past.  Realize that the could’ve beens and the what if’s aren’t going to happen and move on from there.  You have to create thoughts that are forgiving, of yourself for the wrongs you inflicted and understanding from that persons point of view.  I’ve been in relationships and friendships where I’ve allowed my selfishness, pride or emotions to ruin what could’ve been a great partnership.  But in the end I know that if I have tried to make up for it, be a better me and still it wasn’t enough I have to approach the decisions made from a different mindset.  Now, this doesn’t mean I’m off the hook and as we’re all striving towards the goal of perfection I recognize that I have to continually improve and grow.  Even if it’s not something you did and the relationship ended abruptly or before the time you thought it would, you have to let it go by focusing on forgiveness, the positivity of your future so that you can truly seek to understand and grow as a person.

Distance: Some people may be able to remain in a somewhat amicable relationship with a person after a major shift in a relationship status.  But usually, at least for a short amount of time there needs to be some distance granted.  This has to include the mental distancing as well as physical (if possible).  If you broke up with someone and you’re still hanging out, calling, texting etc as before it will be more difficult to break things off and move forward from the pain.  The creation of distance allows breathing space and speaking from personal experience the ability to move on quicker.  In a years time you probably won’t even be thinking about the person you can’t seem to get out of your head today.
Delete: if you have social media relations with the person and you find yourself constantly checking on them it may be best to either delete or block them at least for a short while.  The feelings that you have will continue to linger if you’re always trying to watch their every move, plus how would you feel if you saw them with someone else?  I’m guessing not so great, so why even put yourself through that torture?  Know that more than likely this is not the person God had for you and keep it moving.

Date:  I was once told that the best way to get over a man is to get under a new one.  I’ll just start of with saying that I DO NOT believe or buy into that theory although I used to.  And what I’ve learned is that usually, you just wind up dating someone for a while and still have that one person on your mind in the end or regret wasting your time on a random.  So when I say date, I don’t necessarily mean with other men you’re romantically interested in, but make play dates with your friends and family to just be in a safe place to express yourself and have fun.  Date yourself, I’m always one for going or doing something with me because I love my company, get to know you and what you desire.  And date Jesus, make am appointed time to read his word each day and try your best to stick with it.  There’s nothing wrong with getting back out there, but just make sure your heart is whole and that you are truly ready to do so.

Develop:  The important thing is to focus on you and your life.  How will you grow from here?  How will you improve?  Ask yourself these three questions: 1. How did I assist in the demise of this relationship (recognize) 2. What does this say about me and the changes I need to make and (analyze) 3. What very specific changes will I make in my life to reach this goal (rise)?  For instance, my last relationship ended for a number of reasons, but one thing I know I didn’t do was enough encouraging or building up.  I was a proverbs 14:1 woman, just the latter of the two as I often used my mouth to tear him down when I wasn’t satisfied.  So I take ownership over that. As a result, I know I need to work on being an encourager so I’ve been reading books*, watching videos and making sure that I encourage at least one person in my life a day.  It’s not something that comes naturally for me but it’s something that I can work towards developing and I’m grateful for the chance to do so. Take the time to better yourself and make that into a priority.  Someone better will come along, they always do, the question is will you be ready when it happens? 

*Becoming an encourager on purpose by Marty Celaya is one of the books that I’ve been reading that pertains specifically to being an encourager. So far so good make sure to check it out if this is something you are looking to implement! 

God bless

Court ☺️

A lifetime of Thanksgiving…

This year has been especially difficult for me, in fact one of the hardest that I’ve had to live through thus far.  I have, of course had friends and family to speak to, dole out an endless supply of hugs, spend time with or confide in when needed but I continued to feel quite isolated and alone in it all many times.  The realization that ultimately that thing, event, life circumstance is all yours to deal with can be crushing as you wonder how you will survive the aftermath.  It’s tough and no matter how many times someone says they feel your pain, they don’t, because it’s your pain.  No one else can cry your tears and in the end you are going to have deal with your internal struggles yourself.

This lesson I learned as my life pretty much crashed around me with a series of unfortunate events and diagnoses because I was (and still am) trying to make sense of it all.  It was so bad that I had no desire to do life any longer, I didn’t want to talk to people, write or go to work or class, I honestly just wanted to stay in bed and let life pass me by.   But I knew I couldn’t and life pushed forward so with a sometimes forced happy face I had to as well.

James tells us that when we encounter events that test our resolve and tribulations that torment us to count it all joy, but how? (James 1)  How are you grateful for the loss of a loved one, a diagnosis of cancer or the abandonment of divorce?  How are you grateful for that perverbial empty hole you have over a great loss or a transformational life shift? I have to apologize in advance because I don’t have all of the answers, but I can tell you what helped me get through some tough times this year and in the end give thanks for the realizations that came with them.

When you feel abandoned know that you are never alone: There were people that I thought I could beyond a shadow of a doubt depend on when the chips were down and although most proved to be dependable some showed me who they were & where they decided to stand in my life.  I found the sting of resentment rising up in my spirit against the latter, but I had to understand that everyone doesn’t have the capacity to love (I mean truly love) or to exhibit that love in a manner that’s recognizable to you.  And this doesn’t make them bad people, it just makes them unenlightened people.  Either way God will always be in our corner, so some nights when I cried into my pillow I would turn my tears into prayers.  Times when I was loneliest I decided to turn to God and read from His word, it really did make me feel better.  Thank God for people who you can call true friends but ultimately for God and the fact that He never leaves your side!

Don’t perpetuate more grief by focusing on what’s wrong:  There were times when I felt so down that my self talk was truly coming from a negative place because it was as if the bad news came back to back. I truly felt under attack, and it can be quite difficult to pull yourself out of the spiraling world of negativity, but even in the midst I would have to remind myself to focus on the positive aspects of a situation.  Someone in my family was diagnosed with cancer, but they are still here and we could love on them even more than before, so for that I’m grateful.  Life is but a vapor and sometimes the sting of the reality of death seems to wake people up to the fact that we aren’t here forever.  Thank God for the knowledge and wisdom to live in the moment and appreciate the good things in life and the people in our lives while we have the time to do so.

Focusing on others takes the pain away:  even if just for a moment.  While going through some things in my life I was a bridesmaid in a wedding I noticed that although we would spend some time focused on my circumstances, I was much happier to talk to her about the wedding or help her with planning.  It made me feel good to forget for a moment that my life wasn’t all fairy tales and sugarplums.  Getting your mind off of you and being less selfish will help you in dealing with your issues. Of course we will have times where wallowing can’t be helped as we are human but being less self-centered and caring for others is a great way to start to shift your mindset. Thank God for recognizing that selfishness only leads to increased loneliness and for opportunities to be a light in someone else’s world if only for a moment.

You will emerge from the fire:  knowing that there is another side to the anguish you feel is priority.  Most likely you will emerge stronger that before, I truly believe the adage that whatever doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger. Even if we feel as though we have nothing to be thankful for presently, we can praise Him in advance for blessings to come! Thank God for challenges in life that grow us up and make us stronger and more like him.

Be careful what you ask for: I remember saying a prayer just before I received some of the bad news for God to increase my faith because I wanted a faith like Sarahs, like David’s and Abraham.  I told God that whatever had to be done to do so and not long after the punches started to roll in.  Now, am I saying that it’s a result of that prayer, I don’t know.  But I do know that we receive test from God and we receive trials from satan, either way our response is the same and that’s to pray and pray some more while keeping focused on the optimal outcome and pushing towards Yahweh.   But with anything in life, be it kids, a degree or an increased faith walk, make sure you’re prepared to work for it and navigate your way through the test as best you can. Thank God for answered prayers and the strength, fortitude and ability to pass the test that sometimes come along with them.

God bless and Happy Thanksgiving (let’s eat)! ☺️🎉

The freedom in letting go…

Something I have been hard at work on in life is not holding on to things or people that should no longer be in my inner circle.  For me it’s a necessary step in my journey towards maturity and a relationship with God. It has been a difficult task for me to not grasp so firmly to some of the things I felt played a pivitol role in my life up until now.  But eventually I realized that I had focused only on the anguish and trauma perceived in releasing the things, dreams and people that I thought I couldn’t do without but hadn’t focused on the joy and freedom found in the beauty and satisfaction of letting go. Many of us find it challenging to let go of things, situations or people but learning to do so at any age in life will ultimately bring you more fulfillment and greater joy!  Below I chronicle five areas in life where I have or am currently learning to release and maybe they might help you on your journey to freedom.

Toxic people: research has shown that although people in contented and fulfilling relationships are generally healthier, the same does not hold true for those in tumultuous or trying relationships. Not only do these interactions cause stress and anxiety in your life mentally but can take a toll on your body physically as well. Women are especially vulnerable to these negative effects which includes a lowered immune system by decreasing the T-cells, heart issues and sleep abnormalities. (WebMD) The studies that I found focused heavily on romantic centered relationships, but evidence also existed for other types of relationships such as friendships or colleagues. The ability to distance yourself may be easier said than done in these cases and may require more mental distance than physical. Ignoring or confronting the behavior will eventually come into play to help decrease the toll it is taking on you mentally and physically. Reducing your stress while in a negatively influenced relationship may look different for different people, yoga, meditation, exercise, journaling and praying are all viable options for some people.

Bible verses to remember in dealing with toxic people: Titus 3:10, Galatians 5:25

Clutter: I’ll be the first to admit that my ‘office/prayer room’ has slowly converted to a  storage closet/junk room. It’s full of clutter, things I don’t need, use or wear. The original purpose of the room has vanished amongst a pile of shoes, books and clothes some with tags still attached.  Since I’ve been on my journey of letting go, I’ve started to slowly declutter this room by finding good homes to the things that are in optimal quality or tossing things that aren’t. By now most of us have heard that clutter can actually cause us to become less focused and can limit our ability to process information (Princeton University Neuroscience Institute) so decluttering can not only be a burden releaser but also make you more productive!

Bible verse to remember in dealing with a cluttered home: Proverbs 24:3

3. Stresses: as mentioned previously not only can unhealthy relationships cause undue stress, but situations that bring us feelings of anxiety or frustration also create a great deal of stress in our everyday lives.  The best and worst thing about stress is that most of it is brought on by ourselves!  Which means there are steps we can take to decrease the amount of stress in our lives and it can end with you.  Something as simple as clearing out your email inbox, getting more rest or not worrying about situations that are beyond your control can begin to eliminate a lot of the stress that we cause ourselves.

Bible verses to remember if dealing with worry and stress: Philippians 4: 6-7, Matthew 6: 24, 1Peter 5:7

4. Outcomes: learning to detach myself from outcomes has been a major task in my growth journey. It can be quite difficult to deal with the frustration and disappointment of not having things go as planned or the way I desired.  But learning to release these desires is a great way to bring peace to a less than optimal situation.  I discuss some ways to do so here.

Bible verses to remember if dealing with letting go of outcomes: Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28

Baggage: Carrying over baggage from one relationships will definitely ruin the second before it’s begun.  By baggage I’m specifically talking about destructive emotions and stinking thinking including bitterness, jealousy, rage, anger, hatred, cynicism, malice, un-forgiveness, self-deprecation and vengefulness. Of course we will experience some of these negative emotions at some point in our human existence as a natural occurrence and to an extent they help us make our way through the maze of life. However, research has shown that living with them on a consistent basis can be deteremental to your health with the ability to cause heart disease and a higher risk of stroke (news health.com). The goal is accepting that feelings such as anger, jealousy or vengefulness arise but are not necessarily beneficial to act upon in a salacious manner or even react to immediately instead of responding at a later time and are definitely not worth holding on to. Using your emotions as indicators and not dictators could possibly save your life!

Bible verses to remember if dealing with negative emotions: Ephesians 4:31-32, Proverbs 14:29, Philippians 4:8 and Ephesians 4:26

God Bless,
Court 🙂

But He giveth more grace…

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