Life is Not A Magazine Cover

Today is one of those posts that I take a deep breath, click the Publish button and hope for the best.

In the going on 5 years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve shared bits and pieces of my personal life along the way.  If you had told me then that I would be a full time blogger in 2011, single again, without a home of my own, and living with my elderly parents, I would not have believed it.  That would not even have seemed a possibility to me at the time.  You just can’t plan for things like that to happen in life.  Sometimes life takes a sharp left turn and you are not prepared for it.

{Two of my treasures, one of which is never too old to sit in her granddaddy’s lap}

This is not going to be a downer post, but one rather that I hope uplifts, gives glory where glory is due and gives all of you out there the shot in the arm that you might need to believe that things can be good.  From bad.  Faith is the key word here.

As blogging has gotten so popular in the last few years, we are all invited into each others home.  Even encouraged to peek in the windows.  How many times have you clicked on a blog and looked at the pretty pictures of the home, the homeowner, the homeowner’s beautiful children and cute husband and figured she has it all together?  I doubt that is true in  real life.  None of us totally have it all together.

But the blog world sure can paint a pretty picture.  We are what we portray on our blogs to the world.  No one truly knows all that goes on behind the scenes of anyone’s life, but our friends and family.  Those folks get to see the real us all the time.  So, it’s easy to be a little wistful when we see a gorgeous home, beautiful family and think that person is so, so fortunate to be living such a good life.  A dreamy life.  Those glossy magazine picture perfect pics can be deceiving and no one lives the perfect life.

{Mother’s Day, 2011:  my sister, Renee, Mom, Lauren and me}

My life certainly hasn’t been perfect by any means.  I have been transparent at times, but I’ll spare you all the gory details of my bad choices, disappointing failures, and marital non-bliss that have been such a part of my life.  You know from what I’ve shared this year, that it’s been a heartbreaking one for me on many levels.  Life just doesn’t always turn out the way we plan or dream or hope for.  That, my friends, is reality.

But, I’m here to tell you that there is a silver lining to the black clouds.  There is hope in the midst of a storm.  There is a new day and a brighter tomorrow.  We all go through trials and pain and sorrow in life.  There is no escaping that.  The Bible gives us plenty of clues that life just ain’t always a bed of roses.  God allows us to walk in the rain and brings storms into our lives, sometimes for months and we can’t always see where that is leading.

What good could possibly come out of all of the bad?

I do not have all the answers, but I’m here to give some of you hope.  I’m a middle-aged woman in the midst of a life crisis.  It’s not over yet.  I’m in the middle of getting a divorce.  My soon-to-be (I hope) ex-husband is in jail for good reasons, related to, but none of which have anything to do with the financial devastation he has done to me (for those of you waiting for some scoop, there you go!). Maybe one day I will write that book, you never know.  It is certainly an interesting story, one that I am still in disbelief over the fact that it has been a part of my life.

So, life goes on.  I am alone again.  I have no idea if I’ll ever find (true) love again.  Do I hope that there is love for me in the future?  Yes, yes I do.  If God allows it, my heart would be open to it.  In the meantime, I will keep doing what He has allowed me to do and continue on the path He has led me on. I will be patient and wait.

I started my own business about 3 years ago, which grew out of this blog.  I love being creative and always dreamed of doing something other than working in the Corporate world and when I started blogging almost 5 years ago, I had no idea that it would turn into my dream job.  Working from home.  Sharing decorating and design inspiration.  Talking about my travels.  Sharing my family with all of you. Cooking recipes.  Getting to go on fun trips.  Doing life.  I’m so, so grateful that God allowed it to blossom and bloom into what it is now.  I’m so fortunate that He has blessed me so much just since I moved back home with my parents in April.  So many new doors have opened and opportunities have come my way.  It makes me all teary-eyed to think about it.

Is there anything I’ve done to make this happen?  No, not at all.  God has done it for me.  I’m not getting rich from blogging, by any means. But, he has allowed this to become my source of income.  Something that I love to do.  Some days, I will tell you that I get sad and a little down, remembering what I used to have.  I had a nice house, 2 of them in fact.  Now I have neither. I miss having a house that is mine to do with what I want to do.  I miss being creative and having fun with that.  Being a blogger can just magnify that part too.

But, you know what?  That is OK.   I have to believe that I will have a house again.  So many folks in this country are going through hard times.  Many have lost jobs and lost homes.  These are tough times.  I am not alone.  I’m learning to appreciate the small things in life and be content in my circumstances.  Peace and contentment cannot be purchased.  They are priceless.  I may never have the financial security I thought I once had again.  That is up to the Lord too.

I have to remind myself daily that I’ve got SO much to be thankful for and believe me, I AM thankful.  God has allowed me to still have my parents at my age.  They could easily have been gone already, but they are here for me.  They love me unconditionally and give me the emotional support I need all the time, as do my whole family and my wonderful friends.  I am grateful for all of them!

So, if you are going through a hard time, let me just remind you, that God is still there.  He cares.  Ask Him to help you and He will.  He might not do it the way you expect, but He will always, always take care of his children.  I’m a testimony to that.  I have no idea what my future holds.  This whole blogging thing just might blow up and we all may be on the street and if it does, that is OK too.  I know that He will take care of me.

Let me just take this opportunity to once again thank all of YOU out there who faithfully come to visit me.  Each and every day.  Many of you just lurk and never leave comments and that is OK too.  I know you are out there and I’m grateful that you take a little bit of your precious time each day to spend with me.  I don’t take that for granted.

If you have always dreamed of doing something from home (or not from home) and never had the chance, I want to encourage you to give it a try.  You never know if you don’t try.  I started my business with the hopes of having a full fledged decorating business and it has turned out not so much about that as being able to write and share about decorating through this blog.  I would love to develop that side of my business more and maybe it will come with time.  In  the meantime, I continue to do what I’m doing and as long as it is blessed, I will stay on this road.  I consider this blog my ministry of sorts too.

Don’t give up!  If you have dreams that have never been fulfilled, don’t give up.  It’s not too late.  If I can reinvent myself in my mid-50’s, you can certainly do it too.  Follow your heart.  Follow your dreams and do what you are passionate about and I truly believe you will find a way to be successful at it.

So, that’s it!  That’s my pep talk for today.  I hope my being vulnerable will help someone else realize that you, too have much to offer and a God-given talent that you can use as well, to fulfill those long ago dreams that you might have been putting off.  Waiting for another day.

As the old Nike tag line says, Just Do It!

What are you dreaming of?  Please tell me, I want to know.Is there something you’ve wanted to try and haven’t because of fear or uncertainty?

{I’ve been camping out in the old Streams in the Desert devotional this year and there are some great nuggets in there.  Psalms 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; your mercy oh Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of your hands}.


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. I just simply want to say to you BRAVO! As my uncle would say “you did good kiddo” Thank you for sharing your story. It was brave of you. I know it’s your faith that got you through and will continue to carry you in life. You wear the favor of God well. It looks real good on you. I know it’s been over a year since you wrote this piece, but it contiues to inspire others and my hope for you is that God has continued to bless you and encourage you through this journey we call life.

  2. Thank you for having the courage to post this. What a strong individual you are! I am VERY new to the blog world and your pep talk is just what this southern gal needed. I always tell my daughters to follow their bliss and they will be on the right path. Today you reminded me to do the same!

  3. Regina Walker says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Like you, I too have gone through many, many heartaches and am not sure the pains are all gone. But God will see me through.

  4. Kathleen Mitchell says:

    Thank you for your honest insight! You are so right in all you said. I too have just begun to create my dream world… Graduated from college in 2012 at age 48, and just completed my 1st novel which I hope to have published. Many say its too late, I’m too old, etc… But God has laid this on my heart and if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my trials is that if God want you to do it, just do it! He will work out all the details! God bless you! You are a beautiful person- inside and out and I have NO doubt you will prosper and succeed at any endeavor you undertake!

  5. my gosh. I want to thank you for your honesty about all that has transpired in your life. You had handled it with such strength – and courage! I know this is an old post, but I just found it. I happen to think you are a wonderful person with a great outlook, down to earth style and outlook and a fabulous sense of class. I will be watching you – and wishing you the best! Please keep blogging; you are my inspiration.

  6. Rhoda,
    Your experience and your willingness to share with others is amazing. I love your blog and your decorating. I know God will continue to bless you. If he brings you to it, he will bring you through it.
    My mom died Oct. 6, 2012. She was diagnosed with cancer and lived 6 days. Her favorite bible verse was I Thessalonians 5:18-“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ concerning you.”
    Best wishes for a blessed new year.

  7. Thank you for opening up your life to this world. You will probably never know how you have helped, inspired and given courage to so many through sharing your story. I came across your blog by Cleverly Inspired. A wonderful blog to follow. I also have read the daily devotionals from Streams in the Desert. I agree by Faith we will survive. I have had a life changing event too but mine is physical. My identity has changed but I also know I am blessed by God that has given me a loving family and friends that help me overcome those hard days. The Lord allowed me to cross your path this early morning for a reason. That is my Faith. Blessings and sunshine to you always.

  8. This is a wonderful blog! I was really excited about your DIY posts then I happened upon this post and I was really blessed. Life is has not been easy cancer, medical debts, no children and infertility….people ask why I am happy and I say I am choosing to be happy! God did not promise a perfect life but in him, life is perfect. I’m alive. I’m breathing and I was able to read your post and feel blessed all over again! I am so encouraged by you and for you. I know God is going to bless you beyond what you can even imagine!!

  9. Beth Morrow says:

    Wow, thanks for mentioning this post. Somehow, I have not read it, but boy, i even have more respect for your attitude and want you to know that your testimony is heart lifting!
    Its always so easy to say, “trust the Lord” to someone going through trials, but its another story when you are the one having to “trust the Lord.” You have exemplified “trusting the Lord”.
    Thanks for sharing your beautifully transformed home. I always so enjoy your post and am disappointed when i dont find one in my mail.
    Keep doing what you do.
    O, and one of my dreams is to start my own blog. I keep saying, “this is the year!”. But it is still a dream so,far. I am not as computer sauve as you so I am having to learn how to do the simple things, but hopefully…this is the year!
    Beth

  10. This post has touched me deeply. I met you at Haven last year and you are so lovely and sweet. Trust in God and faith is where it’s all at! I’m divorced but happily married now and following my dreams at middle-age, too! Hugs

  11. great story, thanks for the inspiration.

  12. You are so inspirational. I just know God knew I needed your words today, thanks for your courage and willingness to share your story, though painful at times. I really appreciate it, and am praying God continues to look on you with favor in 2013!!!

  13. I happened on your blog this morning by way of Pinterest. I was reading about painting interior doors. As I strolled through your blog, I came to this post. How refreshing and encouraging! Thank you and God bless!

  14. Thanks for sharing. Many of us out in blog world appreciate all that you do. We look at your ideas and try to put them into our own homes. Thanks for taking the courage to continue and explore. Thanks for helping all of us make our houses “pretty” despite not having budgets just creativity, willpower, and a sense to learn and read how others did it. Lots of us love decorating but out budgets are so tight that we don’t want to make mistakes which is why we refer to the experts like your blog/website. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Cindy Hancock says:

    I’m reading your story again because I needed some inspiration today! Your faith and tenacity are so strong and I know you are encouraging others with your transparency. Please don’t stop! God still has many great plans for you! One of my favorite verses I cling to is “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
    Take care and blessings,
    Cindy

  16. My family lost our home last year and are now renting. i found blogs this month and have been so sad that i see all these wonderful homes and i do not have a home of my own…I hope my own home comes my way and i can use your tips to make a home..thanks

    • Anne, hang in there. I didn’t have a home of my own for almost 2 years too and it was worth waiting for. It will come!

  17. Just read your post. Putting it simply, it touched my heart. I had my own “wake-up” call a little over a year ago and find my self divorced with 2 children (something I never expected). After the shock and devestation and walking around in a fog for months, I’m slowly finding myself again. I have told my children that God will pull us through and if we keep our faith something even greater is waiting for us in our future. I thank you for being so honest and positive in such a difficult, emotional time. I hope we both find love again but I have to share with you something someone recently told me… “All men are dogs. Some of them just have a little more puppy in them!” I thought maybe you could appreciate that comment.
    I’ll be sending prayers your way.

  18. Francine Melder says:

    Rhoda:
    I am humbled by your transparency and willingness to share. You truly are an inspiration and hope to all who read your life and meet you. I knew when I sat at lunch with you at the MMS workshop a few weeks ago that you were a deep soul. I was so busy focusing on getting information from others about how to start a booth and blog that I did not take the time to appreciate you.
    I look forward to tuning in regularly and learning from someone who has been there, done that, and is still standing, grounded firmly in her faith. May you be blessed far beyond your wildest dreams. You surely deserve it.

  19. Just found your blog via Songbird- I am loving it. Thank you for sharing your creativity, family, life, struggles, etc. As a fellow 50+ year old, I am truly inspired by your accomplishments. You have encouraged me and reminded me that in the Lord we always have hope. Continued blessings! Lamentations 3: 22-23

  20. Rhoda. I just started blogging this year. Since I live in the South, I clicked on Southern Hospitality to check out your blog for inspiration and maybe learn a thing or two from an experienced and successful blogger. I was at a loss for words when I read your story. You are not only a wonderful source for design and decorating ideas, but also a ministry for hurting and wounded hearts. You have found your purpose! Be blessed

  21. Hi Rhoda,
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I’m a divorced single mom having survived my own horrible Life Time movie type marriage. I started blogging last year because I love to be creative, to write, to design and to decorate. I want our home to be the best it can for me and my kids. My plate is full and blogging is hard work. Sometimes I get discouraged, but then I find someone like you and I’m inspired again. So thank you for opening up and God bless you. You’re going on my blog roll. :)

  22. Teena Luckey says:

    Rhoda, thank you so much for sharing this! After reading this and the comments, I feel like I’ve been in a church service! God is using you in a wonderful way. Be strong and continue to allow Him to use you. You are such a blessing to those around you and this is a perfect means of reaching out to so many. You are a great encourager and I am going to keep you in my prayers! I will continue to check in on you and everything that you have going on. You are a busy lady. I am in the process of starting my blog. Grrrr! Got a lot to learn!

    • Thank you, Teena, for stopping by and taking the time to read all of this. God has blessed me SO much and I’m grateful to Him for allowing me to have this platform to share.

  23. Thank you Rhonda for being so open about your life. I am fairly new to blogs but I am quickly becoming addicted to them. I too love decorating, repurposing and making a space a beautiful place to live in. Giving a lamp, a picture frame or entire room a fresh look gives me joy and breath a bit easier when life seems difficult. It’s like therapy. My husband has been laid off several times over the past 12 years so I am constantly worried about the future. He is now an amazing fulltime sculptor so the money is not steady. I believe in him and the gifts God has given him but my faith waivers. I am just getting a bit worn out after 12 years of uncertainty. Reading your posting came at a perfect time. I have wanted to get back to doing something creative and decorating seems to be how I am channeling this. My husband and I met in 9th grade art class in 1975 but I have always been the more practical one especially since he was laid off. Thank you for the creative inspiration, thrifty ideas and persevering. My husband did a piece called “Perseverance”. Google Ray Vandamme – Perseverance. Maybe it will be a blessing to you.

  24. Hi, Rhoda, I am new to your blog, but I’m already hooked! Wow, you are quite an inspiration! I, too, am in my fifties (pushing more toward latter) and find myself searching. I recently retired from teaching (probably too early) and know there is something out there for me – just not sure what. For now, I am enjoying the inspiration I get from reading blogs and constantly refreshing my home. I look forward to reading more of your blog – old and new posts. Thanks!

    • Hi, Jan, thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know! So nice to meet you and I hope you find your passion too. It’s very fun!

  25. I just discovered your blog and website via Pinterest while looking for beadboard wallpaper for my kitchen. I totally love your style and your heart. Blogs tend to make the authors’ lives out as perfect, so your honest reflection was refreshing. We all have flaws and imperfections, just like the things we love, but in our weakness, He is strong. Thank you for sharing your story. May God continue to bless you.

    • Thank you, Donna, for stopping by! My story certainly isn’t perfect, but God is so good and has been to me.

  26. Paula E says:

    I’ve just now found this site through a link from Pinterest! I love your site. I love all the pretty photo’s, projects and all the other links in her I can’t wait to explore! Thank you for sharing today and speaking of our GREAT Lord!!! He is good and faithful! mmmm what do I dream of doing? Well I love to decorate and I must do it on a shoestring budget. I started a FB called Rooms With a Little Faith. I post photo’s of rooms I decorate and redecorate or rooms I help friends with. I would love to do that, but not sure how God is leading. I work full-time for a non-medical in-home care company; I’ve been there 12 years and LOVE it! I have the best team to work with!!! I’m the “Martha or now Rhoda” of the office! My heart is being stirred regarding fostering or adoption…not sure what God is doing there just yet. Anyway, thank you for following your passion all those years ago. I’ll be stopping in regularly!

  27. All I can say is thank you. I literally felt like I was reading my own story. It’s amazing what God can bring us to with a harmless “google search”. I love the South so much and am so inspired by the culture and the style. My dream would be to design something that makes a house a home.

  28. I just wanted to say thank-you for sharing your story. I am typing this through tears. I too am 50 and going through a divorce. I’ll be losing a lake house, ranch and my home as well. I’ll be living a much different lifestyle than i’ve been used to for 25 years of my marriage. I think God led me to your blog via looking for bead board stories. The past year has been tough but God has been ever present and working in my life in amazing ways. I needed to hear your words of encouragement about following your dreams. I’ve been paralyzed with fear about finding myself a job. I know i’d be happiest being a professional organizer but I just don’t know why I can’t take that step. I feel….scared. So much has changed and i’ve lost a lot of confidence. But God in his grace has given some encouragement by leading me to your blog. So many things hit home for me with your story. Tracks of a Fellow Struggler has been on my mind for weeks now. I could relate to so many things; our age, our divorce, the financial loss, our faith in God and loving to fix up a home. I’ve been to a million blogs in the past years and never once left a comment. I just wanted you to know that you touched my heart all the way in Texas!! Thank you so much.

    • Hi, Michele, thank you so much for taking the time to write your comment. I wrote this post almost 2 years ago and it amazes me how far God has brought me in the last 2 years. I moved into my own home a year ago in October and it’s been quite the journey. He has been there with me every step of the way and I have no doubt he will do the same for you. Hang in there, things WILL get better!

  29. What an inspiration you are! God is so faithful!!

  30. Ana Cristina says:

    We are in early september 2013, I would like to thank you for your words. Were the strength that I needed to continue forward. I am Portuguese and here in Portugal the year of 2013 has been very difficult and we will continue with many difficulties. I spent here by your blog because I like very much for decoration and I when I go into a new blog the first thing I do is read on the person of the blog.
    As Rodha says life has its way of showing us what is our path and this was one of them for me. I will subscribe to your blog because I like very much of decoration but also because your ideas are going to be for me a source of inspiration and courage to move forward.
    A big Hug,
    Ana

  31. Thank you again for your wonderful blog and sharing your personal life with us. Not my first time to your blog, but again one of those days when i needed a pick me up! Keep your blog site on my favs list …………….smiles

    Love all the new things you have done, when i get up the courage i think i will share with you some of the transformations to my home, rebuilding a home, life.

    Many blessings to you ,
    Fran

  32. Rhoda,

    I was thinking of you today and found your blog. I only met you once at my mother’s house, but knew you were a sweet and kind soul. So sorry for all that my brother has done to you. By reading this I know that you will rebuild your life and what an inspiration you are to others. The picture of your daughter and father is beautiful. Wish I could have known you better. Keep up the good work.

    God bless you,
    Kristina

    • Teresa Tate says:

      my health problems have caused my family a lot of financial challanges. We just downsized our home and thought things would become “normal.” Former owner left us bed bugs. Just awful. I stumbled upon your blog today and really needed to hear your story. I have a strong faith that has gotten me thru the challenges the past several years. But hearing a faith story from another believer really helps.
      I am considering starting a blog, but not sure my health will allow it. Would love to be able to help my family financially. And I think I would love it. I would appreciate your prayers.
      Another woman in her 50s facing a life of challenges and change…God bless, Teresa

  33. Thank you so much for sharing your story. God will and is blessing you. I have had a rough 21 months. I have had 2 knee replacements, a redo of the left knee, open heart surgery and spine surgery all in within 21 months. Since this I have nerve damage and have limited mobility and no nerve activity on my left side.
    I am very strong in my faith and know God has put me in this place for his purpose. I don’t know what God’s plans are for me but I do know I must stay faithful to him.

    I have no decorations skills, but I have my dream home that we have lived in for 2 years. I want to decorate and need guidance. I hope I can follow you and learn a few things.

  34. Kathryn Barton says:

    I read your story and truly have been blessed just hearing of your struggles in life too. I enjoy your blog so much as I am always wanting to recreate, redecorate and change things around even in our rental with very little money. We lost our home and my business too. I know and believe that my life will change some time but only with a lot of prayer and perseverence. God will keep me going and looking forward to life even when I don’t believe in myself. I do hope you find Love as that is what keeps me going too. Keep being that Blessing to many others. Kathy

  35. Shelley Paquette says:

    I just came across your blog by chance and was truly inspired. Your story has sparked much needed hope. Thank you for being so transparent and reminding us not to lose faith. God bless.

  36. Tracy Smith says:

    Thank you, Rhoda, for your testimony and sweet words. I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m enjoying it so much already. Isn’t it wonderful to see God’s plans for our lives come to fruition? It’s scary when we’re in the middle of it, though, but so exciting to be able to look back and see how all things work together for good. I’ll pray for you as you continue to journey along. Pray for me, too, if you would. I’m hoping to break into the world of writing children’s picture books. I really feel God is in this and I’m excited for the journey (but a little scared, too!).
    Tracy

    • Thank you, Tracy for stopping by. And I wish you the best in your endeavors too. Keep trusting and I know you will get there!

  37. I just found your website and read your bio. Thank you for a). your honesty and b) for being an inspiration for us gals out here in blogland who are 50plus. Sometimes I think I am too old to be trying this but yet I am enjoying it. Looking from you, all the best!

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