Blog: Encouragement

Weddings, Funerals and Everything in Between-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 8, 2022

Being one of my children is not for the faint of heart. My daughter Michelle and my son Donovan have experienced an intense amount of heartache and suffering through the death of both of their dads. So weddings and funerals are not their first rodeo. As Donovan drove me to the ceremony where I was to be married to my second husband Jack, my son made an extraordinary statement: “Mom, weddings and funerals are very similar. Everybody gets dressed up, there are lots of flowers, there’s food, lots of tears and laughter, and there’s music and a ceremony.” My son’s words always evoke me to make me look at life from unusual angles, and obviously his statement has never left my brain. Life is made up of seasons. Births, deaths and everything in between. Here in Canada summer is waning and it makes me melancholic and a bit sad. As…

Posted in:  Ecclesiastes, a time for everything under the Heaven, a time to be silent and a time to speak, beauty and joy, Encouragement, funeral, grief, lamenting, Laughter, seasons of life, weddings, weeping

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What my Hydrangeas Taught Me-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: August 15, 2022

Something happened to my hydrangea bushes this year. The flowers, which always give me so much joy and delight, this summer they’ve given me pathetic disappointment. But in all this they’re giving me some valuable life lessons. When planted in the right soil and sun/shade, hydrangea bushes are exquisitely beautiful and resilient. When I prune them just right they flourish year after year, and as I dry the flower heads, they add stunning décor to any room in my home. Until they don’t. My two bushes gave me joy for 25 years but were slowly becoming root bound and it was time to dig them out and plant new ones. So I planted new bushes with joyful expectation. But sadly the new bushes are not thriving, instead they look sick and I’m not sure they’re going to make it. I fully believe God gives us examples in His physical creation…

Posted in: 5 things, adversity, beauty and joy, bitterness, crisis, decisions, disappointments, empty soul, Encouragement, Expectations, feeling good, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, fresh joy, frustrations, hydrangea bushes, joy, Overcoming Struggles, pruning, relationships, Resentment, retaliation, satan, take care of your heart, tender soul care, toxic relationships

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LET’S DO THIS-By Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: June 12, 2022

Based on electrochemical brain activity, our present moment lasts about 200 milliseconds.[1] In a millisecond all of life is behind us and the future looms before us as one big unopened gift. Aren’t you eager to open it? I have this sign in my home that says: “LET’S DO THIS”…whatever “this is.” For me it means to step into the now and savour the sweetness of the moment. Right now many of you are thinking that your present moment is anything but sweet. But think about this. This moment will never come again so are you living it to the best of your ability? As my days before me are shorter than the days behind me, I am savouring every moment and treasuring them in my heart. Because I can never relive them in the same way. You may be thinking that you probably never want to see these moments again,…

Posted in: be creative, comfort zones, Encouragement, familiarity, goodness of God, Laughter, Let's Do This, miracle moments, regret, step into the future

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When Weariness Sets In-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: May 15, 2022

An article on weariness is what brought me to tears. Whoa…what brought on those tears? I don’t think I feel weary why did this impact me so profoundly? I realized this article hit a trigger and I recognized my spirit was weary. Anyone knowing me would quickly respond by: “Well Heidi, you have too much on your plate, you’re always on the move, no wonder weariness has set in.” But that’s not it. My personality and passions do propel me to add many wonderful things to my calendar, but this is not a physical weariness. But this is not a physical weariness. For two years we’ve hung on by our fingernails waiting for Covid to be over. And yes for the most part we’re back to normal but there is underlying and lingering angst and anger.  Too many of my friends are sick right now from Covid and stress.  Angry…

Posted in: anxiety, ask God, circumstances, Conflict, Covid-19, cry, disappointments, do the right thing, don't give up, Encouragement, focus, God's creation, Hearing God, hiking, listen, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, re-evaluate, resilience, rest, tender soul care, weariness

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Miracle Moments-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: March 13, 2022

Miracle moments aren’t always the parting of the Red Sea or water gushing from a rock. Miracles continue to be all around us. The God who performed those miracles thousands of years ago, is still involved in miracles today. The God who provided daily manna for the millions of people wandering in the desert is the same God who will provide for us today.  God is the I AM, the same God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. What God did for David, Moses, Elijah, and Joseph and on and on God can also do for you and me. Today. Have we forgotten that? Let’s remind ourselves and begin to look around. I facilitate a Bible Study group and one evening I asked all my participants to share their miracle moments. One participant who had multiple back surgeries two years ago, is once again walking and engaging fully with life. Another…

Posted in: ask for help, ask God, communicate, decisions, Encouragement, God's goodness, God's love, Intimacy, marriage, miracle moments, miracles, Overcoming Struggles, pray, relationships, trust Good

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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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