Hey June! by Elexa Henderson

Whoops! It’s been awhile since I posted. You’ve probably been wondering where Women Gone Wednesdays went.

This month, I’m taking a little hiatus, but I want you to stay encouraged. Here are a few of the blogs that help me stay encouraged on the regular:

1.     http://www.risingtidesociety.com/ The Rising Tide Society is all about community over competition. Specifically focused on reaching entrepreneurs and creatives, here you’ll find blogs about work-life balance, branding, blogging, and more.

2.     http://www.propelwomen.org/ Propel Women celebrates every woman’s passion, purpose, and potential. A Christian ministry with an emphasis on women who lead, Propel is sure to inspire you with wise words for your week.

3.     http://gritandvirtue.com/ Grit & Virtue is one of my very favorites. While also geared toward the female entrepreneur, Grit & Virtue truly has something for everyone. Blog titles include, “Your Future Plans Are Holding You Back”, “Don’t Call Me Delicate”, and “Comparison is Killing You—Find the Cure!” Check it out!

While you’re receiving encouragement from these amazing blogs, would you do something for me? I would appreciate it so much if you would send an email to womengonewednesdays@gmail.com or a message through our Facebook, and let me know 1) how Women Gone Wednesdays has encouraged you (the more specific, the better!) and 2) how you think we can be better at doing what we do. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and soaking them in this month.

Happy June, Happy Summer!

Elexa

Being Present: The Battle by Elexa Henderson

Daystar Frady is a missionary, adventurer, artist, and a very faithful friend. We hope you'll enjoy her words and heart about being present in each moment as this month's guest writer. You can reach out to her at womengonewednesdays@gmail.com.

Hello! My name is Daystar (and no, my parents are not hippies). I spent the first 19 years of my life on the beautiful Central Coast of California, running barefoot through tide pools and swimming in the ocean. Growing up in a beautiful location gave me an immense appreciation for the beauty woven into our world through people and places. After high school, I took a risk and packed up my life and moved to Europe as a missionary. The past 4 years, I’ve served in 17 nations, teaching English to monks, hiking to remote villages in the Himalayas, building houses, bathing in muddy rivers in the Indonesian jungle, and have made dear friends along the way. These friends have taught me how to be present, invest in family, and enjoy life.

Life is precious, and being present in it is a fight. If one decides to fully live, they must bravely step into the battle ring and choose to combat the things that make us live in the past or future. Many of our lives revolve around these little phones that have become a huge part of our lives. They carry our valuables: our connection with friends, the news, bank accounts, etc. These little devices can steal the simple but significant gifts that fill our days. 

One thing I've discovered as I've been fighting to stay present is that when I'm spending a significant amount of time scrolling through Instagram or other forms of social media, I'm dissatisfied with my present location or situation. I scroll and scroll, looking at old posts and reminiscing far too long about adventures past. This can be fun sometimes. However, if using our phones becomes an escape from reality, that's when social media can win the battle of staying present. There are treasures in each season we face no matter how challenging it may be.

Life is precious, and being present in it is a fight.

When I lived in remote places, I often enjoyed not having cell phone reception. I know, that sounds like a nightmare to some, but I learned to enjoy it. I would become so present that I would forget other places existed. I would immerse myself fully where I was because I wasn’t distracted by something that wasn’t near me. When I was in the beautiful nation of Nepal, I would go onto the bustling streets and sit with whoever I could find that looked lonely. Sometimes it was shopkeepers; other times it was abandoned children or widows who were begging and extremely thin from a lack of food. I would sit with them for hours at times and buy them food. Even though there was a language barrier, I could tell something changed in their eyes. They knew they weren’t alone. We would laugh together and they would let me hold their chubby bundled up babies. That’s what they needed. They needed me to be present right there in that moment. They needed to know someone cared. Our presence and our being present is a gift to those around us.

Photo by Daystar Frady

Photo by Daystar Frady

As we choose to live fully in the present, color will fill our lives....

Sometimes what people need most is for us to be fully there. Engaged in that moment. Fully in, instead of wondering what the latest Facebook notification says. Yes, it may take discipline and a couple punches toward what distracts us from being present. But that’s okay because it’s worth it. The treasures we will discover are worth it. As we choose to live fully in the present, color will fill our lives and not just our lives, but also the lives around us. When we choose to be present, we choose to love.

How sad would it be to realize at the end of our lives that we were always living in the past or future or that we spent most of our time engaged with an electronic device instead of with the people around us? Let’s take time this week to fully live. To take hold of the moment and hug it tight because we won’t have it again. To slow down. To go on a walk, to witness the wind blowing through the trees, the mountains at sunset, or a warm cup of coffee with a friend. Let’s stop scrolling through our phone screens and choose to love the one who is in front of us. To give our presence as a gift to someone who needs it because life is too beautiful to miss.

Be present,

Daystar

Becoming a Better Encourager by Elexa Henderson

We recently hosted our first Women Gone WednesDAY, a one-day trip focused on community and diving a little deeper into what encouragement is. We kept it small this time, but maybe we’ll have another one soon and invite YOU! For now, we’d like to share a few things we learned from asking questions and talking amongst ourselves. 

One of the big questions of the day was, “How can we become better encouragers?” And collectively, we came up with these four steps. We hope you’ll use this as a resource for your own life and let us know how putting these things into practice better equips you to encourage others.

1. See.

Stopping and noticing someone is the first step to being able to encourage them. If you don’t see someone and their need, how can you encourage them? Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to encourage a friend or a stranger. Be ready to notice. *Hint: A lot of ladies are pros at appearing they have it all together. Really seeing is first noticing someone and then looking past the surface and recognizing what’s happening inside.

2. Listen.

One of the very best ways to encourage someone (and sometimes, the most difficult) is simply to listen. Listen without feeling like you need to respond or insert your opinion after every pause. Listen intently, acknowledging that you are hearing the other person. Give them room to hear their own thoughts out loud and come to their own conclusions. 

3. Question.

After your friend has talked for a little bit, begin to ask helpful, non-leading questions. (When your question is leading, it implies that you are looking for a certain answer.) Here are some questions that might help: “What do you think about that?” “How did you come to that conclusion?” “How does that person make you feel?” “How are you going to approach the situation?” Of course, more specific questions can help encourage someone depending on their need at that time (this is why we must first listen!). Questions like these may help the person you are encouraging, encourage herself.

4. Empower.

Allowing someone to process out loud without judgment can empower them to make the decision they need to make. There is nothing like simply being there for others and helping them come to their own conclusions and relinquishing your right to control their decision. A real encourager puts courage in others and equips them to live encouraged on their own.

Let us know when you put these steps into practice and how it goes! Happy Encouraging, ladies!

Elexa

Go Have Coffee! by Elexa Henderson

This week, we simply want to challenge you to spend a little time encouraging someone in your circle. At Women Gone Wednesdays, we don't just care about empowering you with an encouraging blog every week; we really want to see you impact your own community. Relationships are powerful things, and encouraged relationships all the more.

Take the time to stop and notice a need near you, and go for it! Love on a gal who needs a little courage today. Think, what would this person really love today? What would make them feel so special and cared for? Remember that others don’t always feel loved the same ways you do. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to make their day.


And make sure to let us know how it goes on Instagram @womengonewednesdays or at womengonewednesdays@gmail.com


Sincerely,
Elexa

P.S. Don't forget that Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 8th!
 

Tender by Elexa Henderson

Life is so incredibly tender.

The books I’ve read lately have a common theme: we need to slow down so we don’t miss the tender moments in life happening all around us. I didn’t read these books knowing they would share this theme, and yet they do. They talk about enjoying the simple things and stopping to notice the littlest moments and details. They talk about crying over sweet, “I love you, Mom” moments from 3-year-olds and the beauty that can even be found in folding laundry day after day. We have a need, in the hurriedness of our daily lives, to return to simplicity. A deep, human need to take it all in and to truly and experience the tenderness of it all.

I’ve experienced a few moments that have helped me realize just how tender life is….

Mother’s Day is coming up, and when I think about Mother’s Day, I think about brain surgery. Why? Because my mother has had two of them. Two intense surgeries where there was a chance she might not make it. By God’s grace, she has, and she’s doing well.

But I reflect on the deep tenderness of those moments with her post-surgery.

How I walked in and saw her in ICU, and she barely looked like herself.

How at that moment, she almost knew who I was, but didn’t.

How she begged for prayer in that moment.

She knew that word. Prayer. Even though she didn’t know my name. 

That made me cry, in a beautiful and earth-shattering way all at the same time.

The next day, she could say a few words, and she recognized a few people. I took a picture of my brother and dad and husband in one of the waiting rooms we frequented that week, but I couldn’t take a picture of my mother. It’s not that I didn’t want to remember her recovery process, the success of her surgery, and her radiant beauty even in her hospital gown.

It’s that it was too tender. It was too tender to capture on film. It was too tender to share. There was nothing to do but to wait, to pray, and to hold hands.

My husband, brother, and dad in the hospital waiting room.

My husband, brother, and dad in the hospital waiting room.

We share our every day with the world on social media. We highlight moments, we even share the worst of our days sometimes. But have you ever had a moment that was too tender to post? Too tender to share with the world? Are we perhaps too busy focusing on our highlight reels that we’re missing the moments that are meant to leave us in absolute awe and bewilderment? Are we living life one postable moment to the next instead of stopping and simply appreciating where we are right now?

I will never forget that time with my mother, the looks on her face with each passing day, the hope, the resilience, the terrifying thought of complications, and the deep feeling of utter speechlessness. Those moments were for my eyes alone, and they’re frozen in memory. They were for me to feel the preciousness of life, the fleeting stability of it, and the hope of it all. Words seem inadequate to describe their heart-melting gentle tenderness.

My piano teacher suffered from Alzheimer’s before passing, and one of my only regrets in life is not spending more time with her and her husband before they transitioned from this earth to their real home. They were like grandparents to me, and my brother and I even stayed with them during my mom’s first major surgery when we were little. They were true down-to-earth angels, and I’m convinced maybe they were just on loan for me from heaven for a little while.

It’s difficult to know someone in their prime and see them decline into such a state that they don’t know who you are and don’t know how to use the restroom anymore and can hardly speak. I think these things scared me away from being close as she aged. Anytime I saw her, I could hardly keep the tears from flooding into my eyes. And I hated crying, especially in front of others. Somehow, that means I’m too sensitive or I’m weak and can’t hold it together.

There is strength in tenderness and beauty that doesn’t wear high heals.

And yet there was beauty in the moments I had with her. A strange feeling that this is part of life because it brings perspective. And this is the tenderness we shove into nursing homes and the compassion we like to keep hidden away while we run the kids to soccer practice and make the monthly sales goal.

Me & My Momma on My Wedding Day (Photo by Brandon Smith of Novel Hill)

Me & My Momma on My Wedding Day (Photo by Brandon Smith of Novel Hill)

This is what I think. I think we’re all too busy. We’re so busy that all our books are about remembering what it’s like to stop and be compassionate and be tender. We’re trying to recall what it’s like to live on a farm, even though we never have. We’re doing things and dreaming things and making things happen, but we still long to feel deeper. To caress and be caressed. To hold someone’s old, wrinkly hand and tell them it’s okay. To tender.

As women, we were created to be deeply powerful in a crazy loving and compassionate way. Sometimes, we shy away from those words because they are too feminine and too impassionate and not strong enough for the world we live in. But there is strength in tenderness and beauty that doesn’t wear high heals. There is courage that doesn’t look courageous and power that doesn’t look like a management position. There is life all around us, to feel, to breathe, to love, and to live.

We were created to be deeply powerful in a crazy loving and compassionate way.

Today, don’t miss out on the moments that were meant to leave you speechless or the moments that were meant for your eyes alone. Love someone’s socks off and relinquish the fear of immersing yourself into all things tender.

With tenderness,

Elexa

The Sacred & The Mundane by Elexa Henderson

Laura Miller is a Texas native who moved nearly two years ago from the Gulf Coast to the Central Coast. She works as a Career Coach and loves to empower others to thrive. In fact, she has made thriving the subject of her personal blog, Thrive Possible. Today she hopes to inspire others to find strength in weakness and to find what’s sacred amid the mundane.

Recently, I broke my foot. Despite my clumsy ways, this is my first broken bone (other than the occasional toe).

I am a firm believer that the sacred and mundane are inextricable. And through this very common, mundane experience of breaking my foot, I have observed some sacred things.

Four hours after the fall, just before I was released from the ER, I heard some strangely comforting words, “Your foot is broken.”

Why was this comforting?

Because through these words, my pain was affirmed. Sometimes you just need to hear, “This is real. This is painful. You aren’t crazy for hurting.”

Affirmation during hard times is an act of grace.

In the coming weeks, I had lots of time to reflect. I learned more about who I am, and what I value. During times of weakness, your character is revealed. I learned that rest is good and that my work doesn’t have to be my identity. I love what I do, but sometimes the lines can blur.

It’s likely the elusive work-life balance may always remain somewhere just out of reach, but prior to my broken foot, I was certainly tipping too far in one direction. I needed the time to reflect and to re-evaluate my priorities. I needed to soak in the amazing view and the beautiful nature that surrounds our home. I was grateful for the opportunity to reframe and re-prioritize what is important in my life and what brings me peace.

Times of trial reveal the character of others.

The kindness of my friends and coworkers was invaluable to me. So many went out of their way to offer meals, rides, visits, etc. I felt especially blessed by these acts because I’m a transplant. Texas was my home for 31.5 years. So, that community I relied on for so much of my life is now a bit out of reach during times like these. But California represents. I am thankful.

I knew my husband loved me before this happened. But now, I really really know he loves me. Not everyone is so gracious a caretaker. He took over making breakfast, bringing me my morning coffee, feeding the dogs, doing all the laundry, being my personal stylist, making dinner, and working as my personal chauffeur. He also sang me songs, which I always enjoy. I couldn’t ask for more.

With my new way of approaching mobility (e.g. crutches, rolling walker that I used as a scooter), I also became more aware, more observant, and more empathetic.

Back when I took walking for granted, I gave little thought to the slope of a sidewalk, the width of aisles, steps, and curbs. But, as an injured person, I began to notice. And suddenly, I saw lots of my fellow handicapped out and about: air boots, crutches, walkers, the works. I felt a kindredness with these strangers. These are MY people.

Thankfully, I’m on the mend now.

I can WALK! I can DRIVE!

Life is good.

The little things matter.

The little things matter more than you realize.

We take so much for granted. Take an inventory of the little things. You are more blessed than you know.

This does not negate the pain you may be experiencing. But it does offer perspective. It does make it bearable. It does offer hope.

May you find the sacred in your mundane and the strength you possess in weakness.

Laura

A Fearless Year by Elexa Henderson

It’s crazy to think it’s been a whole year since I started Women Gone Wednesdays. But it HAS! This year was filled with many victories. It’s been beautiful to see you encouraged and wanting more. It’s been exciting to see women rally together to encourage each other. Our purpose will always remain to “equip women with encouragement to encourage other women,” and we hope to become increasingly better at that.

I really wanted to write about fear this week, and then I realized it was the WGW one-year anniversary. So I started writing a cute little blogpost about how thankful I am for each one of you and how much I love encouraging and seeing others encouraged and yadda yadda yadda. And I’m sure that would have been great. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I’ve had thoughts about quitting this thing altogether!

And then I realized just how much fear has played into starting WGW, entering new seasons, and being consistent. So, today, I’m celebrating one year of WGW, but I’m also celebrating a year of overcoming fear. And fear, my dears, is something we all have.

today, I’m celebrating one year of WGW, but I’m also celebrating a year of overcoming fear.

I have this absolutely dreadful fear of snakes. I know what you’re thinking, “She got bit by one when she was little.” Nope, not my story. I am just completely, utterly, and absolutely scared of these creatures…for no reason at all. In fact, I can’t even look at pictures of snakes in kids books, let alone head to the reptile section of the zoo. Yup, it’s really that bad.

This is really kind of a terrible fear to have because my husband and I love being outside and going on adventures. And snakes are usually in outdoor environments. Recently, I’ve had to face my fears firsthand.

Last month, I encountered two snakes. The first, on a path hiking back from the beach. I saw the gnarly rattler ahead on the path and started jumping around and waving my arms wildly. And crying. I grabbed my husband like he was a life preserver being thrown to me as a Titanic victim. He finally saw what I was seeing and told me just to turn the other way and close my eyes for a couple minutes. So I did. And then when he said it was clear, I hopped on his back closed my sobbing eyes, and he carried me to safety. Thank God for loving, strong men!

The second snake was a baby one. But I was bike-riding. And falling off a bike onto a snake sounds worse to me than getting squeezed by one. I didn’t see this little guy till I was right up on it, though, so I had to keep going. Man, if I saw a snake every bike race, I would beat the best of them! Out of fear, I 1) nearly peed my pants and 2) started breathing so hard that I started riding like I was running away from Satan himself. But I stayed on the bike. I didn’t fall, and I kept going. I saw a snake, and sure, it phased me, but I let my fear fuel my legs and take off.

Do you let your fears fuel your future or hinder it?

That’s how starting this movement was for me. I was terrified of it. I was scared of putting myself out there. Scared of realizing ideas. Scared of this whole thing possibly failing. Scared of not being encouraged enough to encourage you. Scared of what people would think. Scared of it all. No matter how irrational our fears are, we can’t let every fear we have prevent us from moving forward and into our best. Fear, whether of snakes or starting blogs, doesn’t have to be rational to exist! Identify fears that are holding you back. Are they rational or irrational?

Do you let your fears fuel your future or hinder it?

If I let every snake derail me from climbing mountains, I might as well be a manikin in a store window. I would miss out on bike rides with my very best friend. I would miss out on camping and exploring new places and seeing God’s amazing creation. I could let my fear control me, but I am determined to put my fear in its place. And its place is actually to help my dreams succeed.

If we want to make a difference in this world, we must overcome our greatest fears, insecurities, and failures. Start a blog or business, write those books you’ve been dreaming of writing for years, put an end to social injustices! Whatever is in your heart, stop listening to your fears, and just do it. Muster up some courage; seek encouragement; and provide encouragement to those who are afraid. We must overcome, and let our fears fuel our futures.

Happy 1st Year, Women Gone Wednesdays!

Elexa

Ears to Hear by Elexa Henderson

Right now, I hear construction. It’s a thundering combination of sawzall, hammer, and chaos occurring on the roof right above me. I’m trying to zone all the noise out and put some words on paper, but sometimes, it’s really hard to focus. I can’t quite hear the voice inside my head. Sometimes, it’s really hard to listen.

Listening with my ears is easy. Listening with my heart is hard.

It’s not always hard to listen because of loud banging noises that keep you from hearing anything else. Sometimes it’s because we reach a certain point with certain people where it’s easy to be around them without paying them any mind. I’ve noticed this in marriages, close friendships… My mom talks about a certain type of “uh-huh” my dad gives when he isn’t 100% listening. I can recall times a close friend didn’t hear me because they were responding to a text message in the middle of my story.

There are a number of other reasons we struggle to listen. Sometimes it’s because we have other things on our minds. Sometimes it’s because we aren’t interested or because we just have plain ‘ol modern attention spans. WE are the loud banging.

Do you ever feel like that while you’re listening? Sometimes I catch the tangents in my head drowning out a presentation, or I realize I’m planning what I want to say before a person has finished speaking. On these occasions, listening isn’t about the other person in the conversation. It’s about me. I catch myself doing this quite a lot, regardless of how much I want to be a better listener.

What’s the big deal with listening?

Listening is the first step in supporting someone, whether that be in a crisis or in an everyday conversation, whether it’s your best friend, a co-worker, or a stranger.

I volunteer on a 24-hour crisis line that provides much needed support for sexual assault and intimate-partner violence survivors and their loved ones. Certainly, not every opportunity to listen is a crisis, but my experience on the crisis line really drives this point home.

Listening with my ears is easy. Listening with my heart is hard.

The organization I volunteer with is called RISE, and they take an empowerment approach to serving survivors. RISE believes that the survivor alone knows what is best for their own healing and recovery, and while as advocates we shed light on available options, a survivor’s decisions are always respected and honored.

In many cases, survivors have had their power taken away, and empowering them puts the power and control of their own lives back in their hands. A great place to start when supporting a person in crisis (or in general) is by giving them the power to be heard and to have their thoughts, feelings, questions, etc. validated by your listening ear. Check this article out for practical tips about how to listen to a person in crisis.

Here at Women Gone Wednesdays, we are all about encouragement. This means we strive to place courage inside your hearts and for your own courage to be used to encourage other women. We hope that you will have the courage to tell your own stories, and we hope you will have the courage to draw out and listen to the stories of others.

And let me tell you, listening can be hard. Because I don’t always agree. Because I don’t always like what I hear. Because sometimes I hear things, and I want to unhear them. But listening isn’t about me.

Listening to a person with genuine interest, empathy, and respect says so much:

You are worth my time.

You are worth my attention.

What you have to say matters.

Listening is not about fixing a person. It’s not about changing their opinion. It’s not about offering advice. It isn’t about having the answers, nor is it about figuring out what to do with what was shared.

listening isn’t about me.

It’s simply about caring for another person, about giving them your time, about allowing them an outlet to explore their own thoughts, feelings, and ideas without worries of judgement.

My call to you is to invest in listening better, and my hope for you is that you will always have a good listener nearby.

Here to listen, empower, and encourage,
Alison

Small Words by Elexa Henderson

There are a few ways people approach buying cards for each other: they don’t buy cards at all (think: your friend who also doesn’t buy wrapping paper or gift bags), they buy cards as necessary (think: a sensible human), or they stockpile cards (think: crazy card lady). I’m in the “stockpile” camp. 

My stockpile started with an idea about a year ago to write a letter a day for 100 days. I’ll be honest, I only wrote about 75. But it was a good goal, and I enjoyed writing the letters. As short and silly as they seemed sometimes, they were incredibly easy and fun to write. Plus, my friends and family enjoyed receiving them. I will tell you this: the world needs more letters. 

Since I wrapped up that project, I started keeping an eye out for special cards. The kind that are worth the effort of buying and sending (e.g. the pretty, the witty, the wise, and the cheesy). I bought one recently that said, “Sometimes the smallest words are the most important ones.” And as a words person, this struck a chord. 

Think of warm, fuzzy phrases like: please, thank you, I love you, I do. These are small, powerful words that pack a punch! Then, there are more cold, prickly small words like: you failed, please have a seat, or it’s over. There are words like divorce and cancer, and there are words like breakfast, promotion and adventure.

Some of these small words with big impacts have come up in my life recently. It started with the words “total loss.” These small words refer to my car, which was crunched when a truck rear-ended my nearly stopped compact sedan at 55-60 mph.

“total loss.” 

Just after the accident, I was standing by the side of the road in and out of tears, waiting for the highway patrol officer to show up. My car was ruined. I hadn’t even paid it off yet. How was I going to get to work? Was I going to work? What could I have done differently? Who do I need to call? 

And while all these thoughts were running through my head, while I was high and low emotionally, and while I was making arrangements with my insurance, the rental company, the body shop, etc.--I was being taken to the emergency room by my boss and a co-worker. After I called to say I would be missing work, my boss (knowing I had no one in the area to help me out) said, “I’m coming.” Then, you know what small words I heard while I was at the ER? “You’re okay.” Those words made all the difference as I let my family and friends know what had happened.

“I’m coming.”  

“Okay” means different things at different times, and in the aftermath of a car accident, the peace that “okay” gives friends and family is so valuable. That afternoon, my mom drove from out of town to hang out with me and help me get through the details that follow an accident like finding a new car and going over what questions you need to ask your insurance. She brought me pizza. It was great. 

Even in trying times, small words and small deeds can make a big impact. Example: please, thank you, pizza. Are you smiling now? 

Our small words can bring hope, reassurance, peace, and encouragement. They breathe life. They demonstrate commitment. They soothe weary hearts. 

Today, I encourage you to look at the lives of the women close to you. What small words and small deeds will make BIG differences for them? What are the leverage points?

Our small words can bring hope, reassurance, peace, and encouragement. 

Maybe it’s volunteering to write a blog for a friend or making them dinner. Maybe it’s babysitting, so mom can have a date night….or a nap! Maybe it’s writing a letter. Maybe it’s remembering a person’s favorite snack. Maybe it’s reminding a loved one that it’s okay to take care of herself or thanking a person who’s in a thankless job. Maybe it’s just showing up for someone. 

Whatever it is, know that it can be small, and know that “sometimes the smallest words are the most important ones.” 

Your crazy card lady, 

Alison

Your Best by Elexa Henderson

I can’t say I’m super prepared to write the Women Gone Wednesdays blog this week (especially following the awesome guest post by Jessica last week).

Okay, let’s be honest. I’m totally unprepared. I don’t feel that encouraged, I’m really kind of worn out, and if we’re being honest, a nap sounds pretty good right now.

What do you do when your blog is all about encouraging others and you’re just plain not encouraged right now?

(I know, I’m probably the only one with this problem, right?)

Let me rephrase that….

How do you continue in life when life gets you down?

I’m sitting here thinking, “Really, Elexa. What the heck do you have to give this week? It’s that time of the month, you’re too busy, and you just finished arguing with your husband.” Doesn’t this sound like the perfect person to be encouraging you right now? I know! I thought so, too! (I’m drooling sarcasm.)

How do you continue in life when life gets you down?

What do you do when your friends are struggling, when it’s just “one of those weeks”, and when you feel really unqualified to do what you do?

The only answer I can think of right now?

Keep going.

It’s almost been a year since I started Women Gone Wednesdays, and I haven’t missed a blogpost yet. Sure, I’ve had a couple shorter entries here and there, but for almost a full year, I’ve been consistent. Every Wednesday, you’ve expected to find an encouraging blog here, and every Wednesday, it’s been here, even if it wasn’t my best.

Putting something that isn’t your best out there can be so difficult. It humbles your pride. It goes against the popular trend of posting only your best moments on social media, and it makes you feel like you’re just getting by. Feelings of unworthiness and insecurity can start to sink in….

Do you ever feel like that? That you are unprepared, unqualified, and just getting by? Maybe you are struggling to put your best foot forward as a wife. Maybe as a mother of two with another one on the way. Or maybe you’re struggling to give your best at your job or your best as a caregiver of a parent or other loved one. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re giving your best to yourself. Or your best to anyone around you.

Do you ever feel like that? That you are unprepared, unqualified, and just getting by?

I saw a post with a quote from Helen Keller that said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

I’ll be honest (because there’s lots of honesty going on here today). I saw this post and wanted to pull my hair out. My life doesn’t feel like a daring adventure right now, even though that sounds amazing. I don’t feel like I’m living my best or giving my best. I’m sure whoever posted that meant to be super encouraging and inspiring, but it just made me mad. My life feels like putting my nose to the grind and getting through each day and dreaming of days that I will do greater things and go on adventures. So what do you do when your life isn’t daringly adventurous and thrilling?

You keep going. And you make it adventurous. Or you make a big change.

You highlight the beautiful things in a day. The minutely thrilling things in a day. Today my highlight was going on a short bike ride with my husband. It was short, but I did it. The weather was gorgeous. It was really windy, but the wind made it even more beautiful in its own way. Just “getting by” turned into “flying” on the bike path. Your perspective, on days like this, is really, everything.

Being the greatest and best mom may not matter. But your consistency in being there as a mother does. It may not be your best presentation, but giving it is what gets you the grade or pay-raise. It may not be your best run, but you ran. Today may not be your best. But live it anyway, for you’ll never get it back.

live it anyway, for you’ll never get it back.

Elexa