Blog: Encouragement

Chasing Sunshine-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: November 28, 2021

Bursts of joy immerse my heart when the sun breaks through the clouds and sunglasses glide onto my face. Add to that my favourite flip-flops and a linen top and I’m on my way to a good day. I live in a beautiful vineyard valley with lots of sunshine, which is perfect for nourishing the grapes and sweeting the wine. But it’s not all sunshine. A heavy blanket of grey seems content to sit on top of the mountains from the middle of November to February. These are the months I have to get up and actually chase the sunshine. We have to chase the sunshine. If I don’t make a concerted effort to seek sunshine, the gloomy clouds will suffocate my soul. So I have to remember that clouds can be deceptive.  Their puffed up, dark stories lie to us. This is your life right now, dark, gloomy without…

Posted in: alone, ask God, beauty and joy, bitterness, chasing sunshine, do the right thing, Encouragement, Forgiveness, fresh joy, gloomy days, God's goodness, Kindness, Making Wise Choices, Patience, temporary

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Accumulate Experiences-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: November 7, 2021

Pumpkins are put away, and in Canada, the Christmas wreaths will soon be adorning the front doors. Quite frankly November is one of those in between, dreary months.  And with the oncoming time change it will soon be dark when we get up in the morning and dark while eating supper. One of my least favourite times of the year. The trees are almost bare, the vineyards have lost their colour and I can smell the oncoming snowflakes.  Not enticing for a fun loving, outdoor energetic person. f I’ve learned anything in the past 21 months it’s that life can evaporate without meaning if I don’t intentionally embrace it.  And with Covid still lurking and hovering in the sidelines, let’s spur each other on to ignore fear and NOT become “lazy-boy Christians.” I’ve decided I’d rather accumulate memories than accumulate more possessions. I’ve needed so little in the last 20…

Posted in: accumulate experiences, ask God, beauty and joy, don't be fools, Encouragement, fresh joy, Friendship, God's creation, hiking, joy, pray, we need each other

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Love Lives Here-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: April 11, 2021

In my daughterMichelle’s guest room there is a sign that says: “LOVE LIVES HERE.” Whenever I spend time with the family I am the recipient of that love when I sleep in that pink, grey and cream beautifully decorated bedroom.  As I walk into the next room I am greeted with another sign that says: “HELLO BEAUTIFUL.” It’s uplifting being surrounded by reminders of beauty, love and encouragement.   During this past year we’ve been spending a lot of time in our homes and we need jolts of beauty and comfort that bring us joy. I’ve needed to make my home my haven and have also surrounded myself with signs, colours and images that lift my spirits. Joy doesn’t just happen.   Let’s tap into the portals of Heaven to unleash joy through the reality of goodness.  I’ve just finished reading the historical fiction book called: THE FOUR WINDS by…

Posted in: beauty and joy, Encouragement, fresh joy, God's promises, happy, happy meals, homes, love lives here, negativity, our havens, positive conversations, Uncategorized

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The Beauty and Power of Tribes-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: February 7, 2021

When we’re caught in rip-tide of discouragement, aloneness and even medical issues, we need friends to pull us out. Yes Covid has restrictions but they cannot be used an excuse for not tenderly caring for one-another. There are ways. If you’ve been part of my Fresh Joy Book study you notice that I often refer to friendship circles as “tribes.” Tribes are vital to our soul and our health. Tribes are vital to our soul and health. A tribe is, “a distinctive or close-knit group.” We need people in our life who will engage with us, help us when we’re stuck, make us laugh and call us out on bad behaviour. Before Covid, this was done in face-to-face in groups (2 or more) celebrating victories, grieving together or just connecting heart-to-heart. The richness of this cannot be duplicated and must be pursued. During Covid we are limited but there are…

Posted in: alone, beauty and joy, Christ, companionship, Covid-19, disappointments, Encouragement, fresh joy, Friendship, girlfriends, good conversation, Hope, isolation, Jesus, joy, laughter, Lifter-uppers, loneliness, loneliness epidemic, relationships, tribes

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Covid-19 Will Not Wreck Me-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: April 19, 2020

In the last month Amazon has run out of bread makers, we’ve pulled puzzles out of our closets and even stopped scoffing at paint by number projects. In my own family my granddaughter has taken to painting rocks, we’re learning German, canning pickles and there’s heated bread-baking competitions. During this harshly imposed isolation I am left to live alone.  I’m an extrovert and I love being involved with people and events, and within a week all my speaking and travelling events were cancelled.  My calendar was wiped clean.  After gasping for air and realizing none of this was a joke I made a deliberate choice. This Covid-19 would not wreck me. First, I had to settle some truth and facts. In our family when there is an unexpected or unpleasant turn of events we use this phrase, “accept and allow.” To “accept” the Covid situation I had to be real…

Posted in: accept and allow, adversity, all alone, alone, anxiety, ask for help, be creative, Christ, companionship, Covid-19, crisis, decisions, Encouragement, Expectations, Faith, Families, Finding Truth, friends, heart of God, homes, isolation, Jesus, loneliness, love, make your bed, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, temporary, trouble, trust, trust Good, we need each other

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We Need Each Other-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: February 9, 2020

Twice in this last week I’ve needed help and was gutsy enough to ask for it. One big “ask” was for gift items for a Boys Home in Colombia. I am part of a huge Women’s ministry in my beloved church in Kelowna, British Columbia and I bravely asked for help. I asked for gifts of LEGO, soccer balls, games and puzzles that I could take with me on my upcoming trip to visit three cities in Colombia. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and generosity of the women to lavish elaborate gifts on boys they’ve never met. My second big ask was on Facebook. I need help with the subtitle for my new book called IRRESISTIBLE JOY launching October 10, 2020. The subtitle of any book is a vital piece for the reader to know what’s actually inside the book. So I posted three sub-title options on…

Posted in: alone, ask for help, blessings, Colombia, Encouragement, Friendship, isolation, joy, Kindness, loneliness, needs, thankful, we need each other

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Learning To Live Alone-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 7, 2019

Living alone is hard, especially if you’ve always had someone by your side for a long time. Your body is jarred when your heart is exploding with joy and no one at home to share it with. Or, an unexpected bill arrives in the mail and now it’s up to you to handle it. You need to turn on the irrigation but don’t know where the knobs are, or you need to learn how to barbecue or change the filter in the furnace. In the almost three years of living alone, I’ve overcome all those frustrations and solitary adventures, but the aloneness is always there. I’m facilitating a group called Grief Share, where once again I’m confronted with the reality of people learning how to live alone. Some for the first time after fifty or sixty years. I ache for them and cry for them because this is hard. Now…

Posted in: alone, ask God, Christ, companionship, decisions, empty chair, Encouragement, Expectations, feeling good, friends, Friendship, happiness, havens, homes, hospitality, laughter, loneliness, Overcoming Struggles, pray, recapture your joy, relationships

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What NOT to say to a Grieving Friend-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: July 7, 2019

I’ve earned the “School of Hard Knocks” degree of being a Grief Expert through no choice of my own. After being widowed twice, losing my dad through ALS, my mother through myelodysplasia plus a myriad of other loses; I’ve heard every encouraging, and not so, encouraging word. After reading that wonderful article by Celeste Headlee in her Huffpost article, I wanted to add a few of my personal favourites. Please don’t berate yourself if you find your words in any of the following scripts. Grief is the most painful feeling we encounter while we walk this earth.  It’s outrageously personal. It’s love with no place to go. It’s awkward. It’s the walking wounded and nothing you say is right or wrong or will make it better. I love it when people try to say something, instead of not making eye contact or walking away.  I’ve been one of the fortunate…

Posted in: alone, Christ, cry, death, Encouragement, friends, God's love, grief, Heavenly Father, honesty, joy, Kindness, laugh, listen, love never fails, pain, pray, relationships, smile, suffering

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Where Have All The Relationships Gone?-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: May 19, 2019

I live alone, so relationships take top priority. I’ve come to realize it takes sacrificial time on all our parts to make relationships meaningful, intimate and joyful. Sixty years ago people had family and friends over for meals, sitting on the front porch or in the living room and having “interesting” conversations. Sometimes fun and meaningful and other times cringing with awkwardness. But at least people were connecting and talking. There are 24 hours in the day for all of us, but time has become our scarcest and most precious commodity. Let’s unpack T.I.M.E. and see where it takes us. T.        Take time – In this generation one of our greatest expressions of love is when we make time for each other. You won’t recognize its significance or value until your life falls apart.  My friend Cheryl said this: “Many of my friends have lost loved ones and I’ve been around grief a…

Posted in: Communication, companionship, Encouragement, Faith, Families, feeling good, Friendship, girlfriends, good conversation, grief, happiness, homes, honesty, joy, Laughter, loneliness, love, recapture your joy, Understanding each other

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Become Like A Child-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: March 31, 2019

Why should we become like little children? After all they wear us out with their frenetic activity, messes to clean up, and their defiant “no’s” and “mine.” Not to mention the sleepless nights, the need for constant attention, whining and temper tantrums.  Well, we don’t have to worry about becoming that, because we are that already. So when Jesus tells us in the Bible to become like little children, what do you think that means? And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) The key words here are “unless you change.”So how does that apply to us fully grown, responsible and efficient world changers? Let’s take a magnifying glass and zoom in. The simplicity of relationships. It takes very little to make little children happy. Last year I dedicated many hours to teaching little ones to blow bubbles…

Posted in: becoming, companionship, Encouragement, Friendship, God's love, happy, humility, Jesus, joy, Laughter, Life of Jesus, messes, Pleasure, Prayer, recapture your joy, relationships, Simple, simplicity, stuff managers

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