Caravan Sonnet: April 2016

4/29/16

Path of Hope Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 27, 2016
Contact: Rebecca VanDeMark
                rebeccavandemark@gmail.com


First Spiritual Book on Hope for Lyme Patients Released

Path of Hope, by: Rebecca VanDeMark

At a recent Lyme Disease conference it was stated that “Lyme Disease is the growing epidemic and health crisis of the 21st century”. While not well known and maybe not well handled there are hundreds of thousands of Lyme Warriors that struggle each day just to live. Many of them cannot get out of bed due to extreme and debilitating fatigue and pain. Many are lying in hospital beds with doctors who don’t know what to do. Many others are struggling emotionally under the weight of loss. Many others feel completely isolated and forsaken. In the midst of all of this there is a voice and a helper that calls through the dark night and says that He will never abandon or forsaken us. But in the midst of sickness and pain it is hard to sometimes know how to celebrate the holiday season. 

“Path of Hope”, written by Rebecca VanDeMark, is a thirty-one topic prayer and reflection devotional for those fighting Lyme Disease and their loved ones specifically addressing the topic of hope. Spoken from a heart of compassion and understanding, Rebecca understands the Lyme Disease journey well as she saw over 273 medical practitioners before being correctly diagnosed with Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease.

Rebecca states in her introduction, “The book that you hold in your hand has been written from my heart. I found out I had Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease the day after my 33rd birthday. For the previous six years prior to that day I had experienced a myriad of intricate and confusing health symptoms that never made sense to any doctor. I had spent hundreds of hours traveling across the United States talking and consulting with some of the best in the country. No answers came and I was eventually told that either (a) this was “in my head”, (b) I had a very “complex case” of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (for which I had been diagnosed for) or (c) “stress was contributing to these issues”. Finally, after seeing 273 doctors in one year, seven years of searching, hundreds of invasive and painful tests, and thousands of prayers, I was correctly and accurately diagnosed with Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease. On this journey with our disease we may experience feeling hopeless about the present and the future, but our God of hope quietly and tenderly reminds us to hope even when everything feels hopeless. I have always found great comfort in the Psalms, but none so much as since this journey began. As I approach another anniversary of when this season began and everything was shattered, I look back on the now tattered pages of the book of Psalms in my Bible with a smile. These 150 chapters have provided much comfort and hope, especially on days where I felt I could do nothing but cry.”

"Path of Hope: Daily Reflections on Hope from the Psalms for the Lyme Disease Journey " (ISBN: 0-9975361-9-5) is an 92 page devotional. “Path of Hope: Daily Reflections on Hope from the Psalms for the Lyme Disease Journey” can be purchased where books are sold, including Amazon. Rebecca VanDeMark is an author of three previous books, Praying through Lyme Disease, When Light Dawns, and Prayers for the Single Journey. She is also a blogger, and speaker and can be found at her website: www.rebeccavandemark.com and her blog: www.caravansonnet.com.


4/27/16

Path of Hope... the book... RELEASE!

Ever since I was a young girl I have always marveled at the way that God is a personal God who knows not only the hairs on my head, takes cares of the birds of the field, but also uniquely and personally shows Himself over and over again. One of those ways for me has been through dates of times and days over the months and years. Three years ago at the exact time that this book was released I had my first appointment for Lyme Treatment. While I have since switched doctors, that time and treatment was the foundation that the Lord used to first save my life, discover my battle also would include a battle with Skin Cancer, and to begin the work of fighting Lyme. 

These past three years have been beyond difficult and many times I needed the gentle reminder that there was hope despite feeling incredibly hopeless. I turned over and over and over again to the book of Psalms, and continue to find incredible strength and hope from those 150 chapters. 

The timing of finalizing things with this book release and finishing up last minute items with this book has not been lost on me. The journey through this disease has brought a myriad of different emotions: excitement at the progress of healing that I am slowly experiencing, joy at finding a wonderful and experienced medical team to help me, anger over the lack of understanding and support in the political arena of Lyme, discouragement at the extreme lack of energy I have and the way that fighting Lyme Disease prohibits me from living life fully the way that I wish I could, and sometimes hopeless at feeling this journey will never end. 

These past weeks alone brought some news that was completely unexpected to me and another delay in this long road of healing. My heart was broken and I have cried more tears, found myself discouraged again, and have laid out my broken heart once again to the One who loves me more than life. 

But these weeks are also completely reflective of the entire journey. I have found that there are so many emotions and issues that accompany this journey in fighting Lyme Disease, and yet there is incredible hope to be found in the book of Psalms for the different experiences that we face as Lyme Warriors.

Even as I am sitting here writing this I am humbly thanking the Lord for His strength in helping me complete this project. This was a book that resonated deep in my heart and was written out of a love for those struggling with Lyme Disease and this journey of walking this difficult and painful path. I started writing this book over two years ago ... writing on slips of paper, napkins, medication bags, pharmacy bags, magazine pages, etc... and in a variety of different places... in hospitals, doctors offices, the IV therapy sessions, detoxification protocols, hyperbaric oxygen chamber, etc. Finally, these reflections of my heart and precious Bible verses were combined into a book that is a heartbeat and passion of mine throughout this illness... Path of Hope.

This book, "Path of Hope", is the first and only Lyme patient specific book that focuses on finding hope from scripture in the Lyme Disease Journey. There are 31 topics covered in this book to match the days of the months of the year. Each days devotion has a portion of scripture from the book of Psalms, a reflection, a prayer, an inspiring quote, and highlights a specifically chosen song that relates to this reflection. "Path of Hope" can be used as simple encouragement to those who feel hopeless in this journey or as a guided daily devotional. Either way, "Path of Hope" will provide spiritual encouragement and offer hope to those who feel hopeless in this journey. 

On this journey with Lyme Disease patients may experience all of the emotions I listed and more, including feeling hopeless about the present and the future, but our God of Hope quietly and tenderly reminds us to hope even when everything feels hopeless. Our greatest hope lies in the fact that death is not the ultimate answer and that we have a full and perfect life, with no pain, no brokenness, and no Lyme Disease in Heaven. This hope- this beautiful and living hope (I Peter 1:3-4) is for the future but gives us hope for our present. I have always found great comfort in the Psalms, but none so much as since this journey began. As I approach another anniversary of when this season began and everything was shattered, I look back on the now tattered pages of the book of Psalms in my Bible with a smile. These 150 chapters have provided much comfort and hope, especially on days where I felt I could do nothing but cry.

 I am SO excited to announce that it is OFFICIALLY released as of yesterday!! You can purchase it where books are sold or on Amazon (also available in Kindle form) and you can click HERE to purchase it! 

Thank you to each of you that have already purchased it!! Thank you so much to ALL of you that have been walking this journey with me in prayer! TRULY you are a blessing!!

With Love, 

What's Up Wednesday (April Edition)

Happy Wednesday friends! I am excited to link up with MelShaeffer, and Shay for the "What's Up Wednesday" Link up! I have so enjoyed reading these ladies posts and am excited to join in! It is so fun to connect with so many other ladies who are doing this each month!

What We're Eating this Week... 
Garlic. More Garlic. And yes, more garlic. So basically, as y'all know I spend every single day working to improve my immune system through the food that I eat, drinking tons of water, and the supplements that I take. I truly believe that working on building my immune system is just as important as all of the treatment I do to kill the Lyme. BUT whenever I travel I have a system that I start about two weeks where I literally kick that into overdrive. I do increased nutritional IV therapy, drink tons of extra apple cider vinegar, take extra silver, add lots of basil to everything, and eat tons of garlic which is one of the 17 foods that is known to boost your immune system. Despite my immune system registering at a very low percentage this helps me every single time I travel so I am smelling a bit like garlic right now. *smiles*

What I'm Reminiscing About... 
As I shared on instagram, it snowed here yesterday. So naturally I started dreaming of one of my favorite past cruising experiences that included lovely Coco Cay, the beautiful bahamas, warm weather travel, and fluttering palm trees.

What I'm Loving... 
Planning and dreaming about an exciting trip coming up to see my beautiful friend get married in July. Truly the Lord is good for preparing all of the finances from a friend to make this trip possible. AND I weep in gratitude over seeing how far I have healed in order to make plans like this and be able to go to her wedding. There have been so many life events and weddings I have had to miss out on over the years due to my health. To be able to be planning this is truly a dream come true.

What I've Been Up To...
If you follow me on instagram than you know that this past month has been a whirlwind in so many different ways. My time these last several weeks has been slowly healing from treatment and prayerfully working through my upcoming speeches that I will give at a conference next week. (I am coveting prayers for this trip friends- as some of you know this is a complete leap of faith for me, traveling alone, giving these speeches, etc. Thank you for covering me in prayer! Truly the Lord goes before us...)

What I'm Dreading... 
Let's be honest... getting a port in June. I would welcome any encouragement that anyone has heard or experienced? Thanks friends! I appreciate your prayers for all of this!

What I'm Working on... 
Lots and lots of new items for the shop and a couple of exciting surprises that I will be sharing in the next few weeks! I can't wait to share with y'all!!

What I'm Excited About... 
As I shared this morning, I am so honored, excited, and humbled to announce that my newest book, Path of Hope, was released!! You can purchase it where books are sold or on Amazon (also available in Kindle form) and you can click HERE to purchase it! 

What I'm Watching/Reading... 
picture found on internet
Y'all know how much I love to travel and recently I have been reading about lots of travel things, specifically related to Phoenix, Arizona as I head there next week to speak. Does anyone have any tips for me on what to see in Phoenix? I haven't been there since I was a young girl so I really don't remember anything and would love some ideas! 

What I'm Listening to... 
I shared this several months ago but if you haven't had the chance to listen to this beautiful song, "Jesus I am resting" yet, take the three minutes and do it right now. I promise you will be incredibly blessed! (Want to find out more about the Wissmann Family and check out more of their music? You can find their website HERE!)

What I'm Wearing... 
Let's be real... I have been in comfy comfy clothes most of the last few weeks as I haven't felt that great but I am definitely dreaming of spring clothes! 

What I'm looking Forward to Next Month... 
I am looking forward to heading to Phoenix to speak. It is going to be a leap of faith for me, going alone, having the energy for the whole trip, but I am confident that the Lord will provide. I can't wait to see all that He does next week!

I would love to know your answers to these questions friends! Share your thoughts below in the comments!! *smiles* Happy Wednesday!

4/26/16

Mother Cabrini Shrine, Peru, New York

A couple of weeks ago we drove out to the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Peru, New York. I had been hearing how stunningly beautiful this area was and it truly does not disappoint. The gorgeous property, the stunning views of Lake Champlain and the Vermont Green Mountains, and the peaceful grounds are all definite worth a visit to.
To get to the Mother Cabrini Shrine it is only about a 35 minute drive off of the Plattsburgh, I-87 exit in upstate New York and definitely worth the trip. It is definitely one of those hidden treasures in the Adirondack Mountains that you don't want to miss out on seeing!
Before we planned our visit I wanted to look up the history regarding the Mother Cabrini shrine and who Mother Cabrini was. It was so fascinating to learn all about this woman and the work that she did!
Frances Cabrini was born in July 1850 in a small village near Milan, Italy. As a child she was enthralled with stories of missionaries and at a young age committed herself to join a religious order. 
Unfortunately, she was in poor health so she was not permitted to join the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, under whom she had received her teaching certificate. However, at thirty years old, along with seven other women, she founded the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She was known to be as resourceful as she was prayerful, as she found people who would donate to meet the needs that she had not only in financial resources but also with time, labor, and support. 
While Frances Cabrini and her sisters had a dream and plan to become missionaries in China, she was directed elsewhere after obtaining an audience with Pope Leo XIII. Pope Leo XIII told Frances to go "not to the East, but to the West" and to go to New York instead of China. Part of this direction might have been because there were thousands of Italian immigrants that had already matriculated to the United States, or it could have been for other reasons we will never know. 
Nine years after founding the Institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mother Frances Cabrini and her sister companions stepped onto New York soil. New York City at this time was filled with chaos and poverty and Cabrini quickly went to organizing a variety of different programs to help the poor. Cabrini organized catechism and education classes for Italian immigrants and served the many needs of the many orphans. Cabrini also established schools and orphanages despite tremendous odds that were against her. 
Two of her most famous hospitals that she established in New York City were the Columbus Hospital and the Italian Hospital. These two hospitals were later merged in the late 20th century and became known as the Cabrini Medical Center that lasted until 2008, when it was forced to close due to financial difficulties.
Over Mother Cabrini's lifetime, requests for her to open schools all over the world came to her. She spent her life not only continuing to serve the people of New York City, but also traveled throughout the United States to Europe, Central America, and South America. In her life-time she made 23 trans-Atlantic crossings and established over 67 orphanages, schools, and hospitals.
Mother Cabrini was known to work tirelessly for the cause of Christ throughout her life. One of her most famous sayings was; "I will go anywhere and do anything in order to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him or have forgotten Him." 
On December 22, 1917 at the age of 67, Mother Cabrini died. Almost thirty years later, in 1947, she was canonized as a saint by Pope Pius XII in recognition of her holiness and service to the world. Three years later, in 1950, she was named the Patroness of Immigrants. 
In 1947, the Mother Cabrini Shrine was dedicated in Peru, New York. The Shrine's settings were seen as appropriate on the grounds of St. Patrick's Church. St. Patrick's church had opened in 1841 to serve the large group of Irish immigrants who had settled into the Adirondack Mountains. 
As I shared at the beginning of this post, this is a beautiful piece of the Adirondack Mountains and definitely worth the time to drive to see this beautiful land and views. Happy Tuesday friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful day!

4/22/16

4 Tips to Make your Self-Published Book Look Professional

One of the most asked questions that I receive from people is about publishing a book. So today I wanted to share 4  tips to make your self-published book look professional. I will be sharing more thoughts on getting a book contract in the coming weeks. As most of y'all know I have actually done both traditional publishing (accepting a contract from a book publishing company) and have also independently published my book using Amazon's CreateSpace website. I hope that these tips will help y'all as you embark on this exciting adventure!

If you are looking for other posts that I have done on writing and publishing tips you can find them HERE or in the links below:



10 Ways to Support Your Friends Who Have Independently Published Books

12 Ways to Support Your Friend's Book Release

One of the most asked questions that I receive about the books that I have chosen to independently publish is how I have made them "look" professional. In my post entitled 20 Tips for Successfully Self-Publishing your Book (or E-book) my second tip was take the time to make your book look professional. The reason that I had this as my second tip was very simple. In a day and age when even well-known authors are independently publishing their books you want to make sure that your book looks professional (or more professional!) than your competitors. Gone are the days when you are a lonely island self-publishing your work. In today's market it is wise to build a team that will help make your book the success that you want it to be. So here are 4 tips on making your self-published book look professional.

1. Edit, Edit again, Edit some more, and Keep Editing.
Often one of the biggest mistakes that a self-published author makes is not spending the time to properly edit their book. Take the time to edit and make sure that this is your first priority before publishing. Spend the money to hire a professional editor. Don't have the money for a professional editor? Check out your local colleges and graduate school programs and contact the English and Journalism departments. Many times professors, TA's, or graduate students are looking to earn a little bit of money or build up their resume and will offer their services at a reduced rate. 

Anyone who knows me that editing is my least favorite part of the writing process. By the time that I have spent 6-7 months editing (sometimes much more!) I am literally over the book. *smiles* I once heard a well known and famous author say that he never re-read his books once they were published because he could quote them due to all of the editing. I didn't understand his comment until I became an author and now I completely get it. Know your work so well that by the time that you are done you could quote the masterpiece that you have created. 

2. Always Review a Physical Copy of your Book Before it goes to Print.
One of the most important pieces of advice that I give to everyone who wants to self-publish a book is to always review a physical copy of your book before it goes to print. I know to many self-published authors that have gone ahead and hit the "approved" button without reviewing a hard and physical copy. So many things can look different on the computer - including colors, photos, lettering, etc. Believe me- you want to spend the time to pay for a physical copy to review. 
Here’s what you want to check:
* Paragraph indentations- are they consistent throughout your book?
*all margins are the same
*check your page numbers
* check the chapter headings- are they positioned in the same place every time? are they numbered correctly throughout your book?
* can you read your front and back cover clearly?
3. Make Title Pages
One of the simplest and easiest things to fix to make your self-published book look professional is to make sure that you have title pages. When you open a book you will always see the title pages, copyright pages, dedication pages, acknowledgements, etc. You may think that they are not important but your reader will look and expect them to be there. 

4. Professional Cover Design
In a day and age of so many different editing and creative programs there is absolutely no excuse for your cover design to not look professional. Self-published authors feel different ways about this. Some love to spend the time to create their covers and some hate it. I personally love it because it gives me the opportunity to express my creativity, but I still hire someone to help me think through the different aspects that my covers are going to portray. If you like to create your own cover take the time to hire a graphic designer to ask them some questions to help your design look the best. If you don't like to create your own covers, then hire a graphic designer or a professional who works with book designs. Honestly, this and editing are the two most important investments that you must make into your book to make it look professional. 

I have gone all different routes for my covers, but each one had a specific purpose and theme that I was trying to convey. 



"Praying through Lyme Disease" was my first independently published book and I fell in love with this cover for professional and personal reasons. First, I wanted a cover that was gender neutral and second wanted a cover that conveyed where many people get bit by ticks- in a woods. Third even those who don't get Lyme disease by hiking in a woods, the path to healing and through Lyme disease often feels like you are walking a very lonely path through a woods. So this book cover on a professional level hit all of these requirements in my mind. On a personal note when I saw this cover I instantly had tears as I know exactly when I was bit and this looked like the exact path I had been hiking when my life was changed forever. 

One of the most meaningful things to me about this cover is how many people I have heard from who have are walking the journey of Lyme disease and the cover really spoke to them. That to me is the wonderful thing about a great cover- you will draw the readers you are hoping to - in to your book.


"Prayers for the Single Journey for women" went through about seven different cover designs (literally). The graphic designer that I hired created a fantastic one but to me it wasn't yet "perfect". I created one and running it by different people ... it was honestly just lacking. So we kept trying again and again. In the meantime I kept going back to my sweet friend Amanda's (from Marshalls Abroad) blog and a specific picture that she had taken and posted on her blog. I fell in love with it but was honestly to shy to ask her at first if I could have permission to use it (and pay her for the picture). Finally after the sixth cover design that my team and I threw out I designed that I was going to take the leap and ask her. She was SO sweet and wrote back immediately and gave me permission to use the picture. 24 hours later the cover design was completed after an 8 month process and it was perfect. Professionally it conveyed exactly what I wanted to and personally the picture reminded me of many walks on the beach, praying for my future husband, and dreaming of holding his hand one day. 

One thing that I definitely recommend is to think outside the box with your cover. This situation definitely reminded me of this. Don't be afraid to explore photography of your friends and co-workers and pursue this as an option for your book. (I do have to give a shout out again to Amanda and her amazing photography. She takes amazing pictures and if you are ever looking for gorgeous pictures for your home I definitely recommend contacting her. She is so sweet and is amazing. You can find her blog (and her contact information) by clicking HERE.)


When I first started writing my book, "When Light Dawns" I knew immediately the picture that I wanted to use as the cover. I had taken this picture during the Christmas season, the year before my health crashed completely. I can remember the moment very clearly and had been amazed by the way that the lights of the Christmas tree reflected the birth of Jesus Christ, the light of the world, coming into the darkness. When I first started writing "When Light Dawns" in December of 2013 I needed this beautiful reminder that there was hope during the holiday season. I loved how the picture summed up such a personal journey for me and conveyed not only the color of Christmas, but the theme of light in the darkness. 

Don't be afraid to explore using your own pictures in addition to using those of others. You never know what picture you may have taken that could be a perfect fit for your cover!

I can't stress enough how important it is to really take the time to figure out a cover that will be the perfect fit for your project and that will give it a professional edge! 

What are some of your tips in making your self-published book look professional? I would love to hear them! I hope that you are having a wonderful Friday friends and that you have a fantastic weekend! 

4/21/16

18 Things to Pack in Your Emergency Room Bag

While some trips to the Emergency Room may be not traumatic, in reality- all trips to the Emergency Room are usually unexpected and unplanned. So today I wanted to suggest a couple of things that can help with making this visit a little more comfortable and productive by preparing in advance an Emergency Room Bag. 

(I do suggest having this Emergency Room Bag somewhere that is easily accessible. The purpose of this specific bag is that you will not have to go flying around the house gathering things that you may need in a crisis situation, therefore you want the bag to be easily seen and to be used. And while there could be many emergencies that take place where you will not have your bag handy- this will hopefully help in the situations and times that you do.)


(1) Small Pillow. 

(Hospital chairs (and "beds") are notoriously uncomfortable. Sometimes having the chance to have a small pillow to use to prop your head up or to use to lean against a wall while you are in the waiting room is incredible helpful. I would suggest getting a travel size pillow - they are light and small and can easily fit in your bag. (Side note: Don't buy a pillow that you have to inflate. If you are seriously ill you are not going to have the desire or energy to do this. Yes, I have seen this done.)

(2) Eye Covers. 

Lights can be extremely annoying when you are seriously ill.

(3)Your Health Notebook or a mini version of your Health Notebook. 

Don't have a Health Notebook? Click HERE for instructions.

(4) Comfy Shirt/Pants 

This can be incredibly helpful in making you feel more comfortable. Just make sure that these items are easy to slip on and off. 

(5) Copy of an easy to read book


(6) Favorite Magazine


(7) Deck of Cards


(8) Small Blanket

Sometimes the rooms in the ER are freezing and those "warm" blankets don't last very long!

(9) a
 reminder note to grab your wallet or purse 

(10) If you are not going to use your Health Notebook than make sure to have a copy of your doctors information in your bag.


(11) Cell Phone Charger


(12) Extra copy of Your medicine list and your supplement list


(13) Instant Ice or Hot Pack 


(14) Ear plugs


(15) Face Mask


(16) Tissues.


(17) Small garbage bag


(18) Pack a new or favorite stuffed animal for small children.


What do y'all grab as you head to the ER? Any suggestions or thoughts we could add to this list? Happy Thursday y'all! 


{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}

4/18/16

10 Things to Pray for Your Single Friend

picture found on internet, altered by Caravan Sonnet
Happy Monday sweet friends! I am often told by very dear and well-meaning people, "I am praying for you and for your future husband" or "I am praying for that guy to come along quickly" or (my personal favorite *smiles*) "I am praying for you future hubby today". All of these things are wonderful and I am so grateful and thankful for the time that people pray for this area of my life. BUT I am also asked by those closest to me, "Besides praying that your future husband comes along, how can I pray for you as a single?". I have been thinking about this a lot and today I wanted to share 10 things that you can pray for your single friend. While this doesn't address everything to pray and is definitely not a "formula" I do hope and pray that this is a good "starting point" for you to be praying for those that you love who are single. 

1. Pray that they would see the Lord cares uniquely and lovingly for them in this season. One of the ways that singleness "attacks" the emotional heart of singles is the feeling that they are alone and in a desert. Pray that your friend would unique see that the Lord has not forgotten them and is with them. When I think of this area I always think of the story of Hagar in the Bible (Genesis 16). The Lord provided beautifully and uniquely for this single woman. Pray that your friend would see that the God of Hagar is still the same today and is uniquely and lovingly working in this season. 

2. Pray that your friend would find rich community, friendships, and support during this season. As singles get older it is a sad but common phenomenon for them to "lose" friends as they watch them get married and move into a different season in their life. Pray that your friend would find rich friendships (Proverbs 17:17) and support (from people of all different ages) during this time. Pray that your friend would find a special place in their church where they can find community. I have said this before and have heard it hundreds of times from single friends... Sunday... attending church... can be the loneliest time for a single. Pray for them during this time and that as they continue to attend church they would find rich community. (Hebrews 10:22-25)

3. Pray for their self-esteem. Look, even the most confident person who is single questions and wonders if something is "wrong" with them and that is why they are single. Many singles struggle with self-esteem whether in their looks, or feeling that something that occurred in the past makes them "unworthy" for a great relationship, or feeling that for "xyzreason" they are "not good enough". Pray that your friend would know the truth of Psalm 139:13-14 and that this would resonate in their hearts. 

4. Pray for their broken heart. Many many many singles have experienced a broken heart and rejection in their single journey. Whether this is a broken heart due to a relationship that didn't work out or the feeling of rejection by another person or the disappointment that a situation didn't "pan out" the single often feels "brokenhearted". Pray that your friend would tenderly know the loving care of God and that they would experience His healing of any brokenness that they are experiencing. (Psalm 147:3)

5. Pray for their fears. Many singles deal with fear over a host of different issues. This could be fear of the future of never finding someone, fear of how to "make it" on their own, or simply some personal fears that they are experiencing. Pray that your friend has freedom from their fears (Romans 8:15) and that your friend knows fully the joy of trusting in the Lord for their daily and future needs. 

6. Pray for them as they navigate a "couples world" and deal with many who have a lack of understanding for their situation. I have heard it said a thousand times and I often agree... it is a couples world. Whether intentionally or unintentionally this can often lead singles to navigate a host of situations that are "normal, daily events" that requires a lot of grace and a lot of strength. Many times those who are well-meaning have rash words (Proverbs 12:18) that can hurt those who are struggling with singleness. Many times invitations to events come (or required business dinners) that "require" a "plus one". Social media is exploding with engagement announcements, wedding pictures, and relationship love. All of these things can be difficult to handle. Pray that your friend finds hope in the Lord as they navigate these areas. (Psalm 3:3)

7. Pray for them on holidays and for upcoming events (i.e. bridal showers, engagement parties, weddings, etc.). Pray for your friend as they approach holidays and upcoming events that they would know that the joy of the Lord is their strength and that they would find peace in the difficult moments. Pray that they know the truth of 2 Peter 3:8-9. 

8. Pray for their protection as they travel and live alone. Pray that your friend would be protected as they come and go (Psalm 121:8) and that the Lord would watch over them (Psalm 121:5). Pray that the Lord would keep them from all harm and watch over their life. (Psalm 121:7) Pray that the Lord would place His angels around your friend as they travel and live alone. (Psalm 91:11)

9. Pray that they "actively wait" by living each day. Pray that your friend that they would wait on the Lord completely (Psalm 130:5-7). Pray that they would know the Lord in this season of "waiting". Pray that they wouldn't wait aimlessly but that they would see where the Lord has them for the present and engage fully in that place the Lord has them. (Psalm 16:5-6) Pray that your friend would know that this season is not wasted but that they Lord has a special and unique purpose in this time and place. Pray that the Lord would reveal this to your friend. Pray that they would live fully in the day that is given them without wasting it by dreaming and waiting to live for tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34) Pray that when they feel that they can't handle another day of singleness that they will know that in Christ is EVERYTHING they need for the day and for life. (2 Peter 1:3)

10. Pray for their hope. Pray that your friend would clearly see that they have hope for every situation, including their dreams for marriage. Pray that as the years go by they would not lose hope but would praise the Lord more and more. (Psalm 71:14) Pray that they know the truth of Jeremiah 29:11 and that they would find their hope not in marriage but in Christ and His word alone. (Psalm 130:5) Pray that they would find comfort in in Job 42:12 and that they would be clothed in strength and dignity so that they can laugh at the days to come. (Proverbs 31:25) Pray that they would know hope in the Lord and in His plans no matter what the future holds. (Hebrews 11:1) Pray that they would know the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27)

Are there things that you pray for your single friends that could be added to this list? I would love to know! May you be blessed as you take the time to lift up your friends in prayer!
You are a blessing!!
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(This post was originally published in 2015, but has remained one of my highest read posts to date so I thought I would re-post it for this new year! I am overwhelmed with how many emails I receive each week that ask what people can pray for their single friends. I pray that this is an encouragement and help! Looking to give a gift to your single friend to encourage them in this season? Consider giving the gift of my book, "Prayers for the Single Journey" which can be found on Amazon and where books are sold! )

4/16/16

Altered Planner 2016

Hi y'all! I hope that you are having a wonderful day! On Tuesday I had the opportunity to be over on the May Arts blog sharing with y'all my altered planner that I created for the 2016 year. (You may remember by Altered Planner for 2015, which you can see HERE.)
I have always loved making things pretty, especially my planner that I use everyday. This year I was wanting to create an elegant, beautiful, and pretty altered planner and love the final results! I love all of the different options that the Ribbon Resource online shop offers!
To alter the planner I first cut my strips of ribbon pieces that I was going to use into 3 inch strips for the silk ribbons and 4 inch strips for the flower ribbons. I set these strips of ribbon to the side and then laid them out in a pattern to use in the planner.
I used these 3 inch strips to attach throughout the planner. Keeping in mind with my goal of wanting to create an elegant, beautiful, and pretty altered planner, I choose several silk ribbons.
I love the way that the silk ribbons create an elegant and soft feel. The beautiful ribbon from the Ribbon Resource online shop make each creation so lovely.
The following is a list of the ribbon that I chose (and the approximate amount of each):
Interested in buying some of these ribbons that I have mentioned? Stop on by to check them out at the Ribbon Resource online shop! 

Have a wonderful day y’all! 

4/13/16

Stranded with 3 Medicine Cabinet Items


I'm so excited!!  Today is the first day of Shay and Erika's new link up STRANDED!
Each month will have a different topic (see below for all of the topics) and today, we're blogging about what three things out of our medicine cabinet we would take if we were stranded on a deserted island.

Let me be clear. As much as I would like to be on a warm island and visiting happy sandy beaches right now (like one of my favorites, Coco Cay *smiles*) instead of looking out at the cold weather, I don't think that I would fair well on a deserted island. Hahaha. Obviously, while I dream of being on the Amazing Race, I am not hoping to be on Survivor which I associate with being stuck on a desert island. Or the movie Castaway. Not fun.*hahaha*

But if I was, here are the three things from my medicine cabinet that I cannot live without and would take with me (and narrowing it down to three was hard!)...


(1) Apple Cider Vinegar
I wrote a post a couple of years ago about the benefits of apple cider vinegar and honestly not only are these 15 things that I mentioned wonderful, but I have found so many more uses for ACV.  Not only is it great to use for digestion and for your immune system, but it is also great for your skin, helps to whiten your teeth, and helps to reduce cellulite. I use this everyday in a number of different ways and swear by it. 

(2) Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen
As a lady who is fighting skin cancer, y'all know that this would be one of my items. I wear sunscreen in various forms every single day- even throughout the winter. I have always had sensitive skin and after trying tons of different sunscreens, I fell in love with Neutrogena's sensitive skin regime. I never burn with this and I love the fact that it doesn't make my face to oily. This would definitely be coming to the island!


(3) Derma E Scar Gel
I love different Derma E products and have written about the Vitamin A Cream before (you can read it about it HERE), but I really need to do a post on their scar gel product. I am amazed at how well it works for so many different things and have been using it now for a couple of years. I use it specifically on the places that I have had surgery scars and my doctors are amazed at the results (and I am so grateful!). I also use it though on cuts that are healing and on my hands and feet in the winter time because it makes them incredibly soft! I would definitely bring this to the deserted island!

So these are my three things from my medicine cabinet if I'm stranded on a deserted island (seriously there could be a ton more!!) Hahaha!  What would you bring?  I'd really love to know!!  Comment below (or link up!) and share this with us!  What would you bring from your medicine cabinet?

And to see the other topics for the rest of the year (obviously next month picking out my three books is going to be impossible - hahaha!):



Happy Wednesday friends!