How do you get through tough times?


Oh no! Flowers caught in the snow! Do you think they’ll make it?

Lately, it seems no matter where I go or what I do, I’m finding flowers in the snow. Or should I say, good folks going through a surprisingly tough time.

Is it the time of year? Are we suppose to be happy happy joy joy because everyone is suppose to have the perfect upcoming Christmas?  Have you too noticed many stories surfacing this time of year like I have?

I really don’t know if it’s the season to blame or the expectations we put upon ourselves. But here’s a newsflash. There is no such thing as a perfect life on earth. But I do believe you can improve your given situation 10 fold with a slightly different outlook.

First and foremost, I’m not trained in this sort of help. I don’t even fully understand why I have a need to post this. I’m just led to. It comes easy for me and it feels right.

Now, just so you don’t think I’m immune to ugly and nasty stuff happening, here’s my own current list I’m chomping on which happened in the past 2 weeks. Please don’t feel pity for me. It’s simply a means of getting a point across which I’ll make shortly.


My ugly list

The last power surge killed a work computer and I’m hacking at a disabled system daily to save my business. Yikes.

My son has been sick for a VERY long time to the point where I needed to run him in to the Dr.

On the way to running him in, I lost my brakes on my truck and ran a 3 way stop.

I’m late in all my work projects due to staying home so much.

I took my truck in and now scratch my head at the crazy train bill. There goes the new camera fund!

I’m busy mourning loved ones during one of the most family oriented seasons ever.

So, what’s one to do when hard times hit?

Survival guide for flowers in the snow


Own it.

Own where you are. Now, blaming yourself for everything under the sun is NOT the same as owning where you are. By owning it, I’m simply saying, you are where you are because of your choices.

That’s a hard one to swallow, isn’t it?

Yes, there are victims in this world. But once you reach adulthood, you are responsible to make sound adult decisions. One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned is, if I own where I am, I’m capable of making the changes necessary to better my situation. Continue to blame others or circumstances and you’ll never dig your way out, because you haven’t allowed yourself to come to terms with WHY you really are where you are.


 Find the good

Would you believe I can find a good reason for every one of those bad things happening to me? Here’s what I mean:

Truck brakes went… bad
It happened on a quiet street, VERY close to home and I didn’t die… good
Reason – My truck had been wonky for some time but I ignored it… thank goodness this finally happened when and how it did!

I’m late in all my work projects due to staying home so much… bad
I started working on things that needed my attention at home… good
Reason – Being forced to stay home led me to finally getting productive on mandatory overdue tasks I would never have taken the time for otherwise.

Search for a bigger meaning for whatever happens to you. And sometimes a reason won’t even come to light. Yet. But it eventually does if you search for it. I truly believe there’s a season for everything.


 Be productive

I remember when one of my relationships with another ended.  It was a devastating time in my life. And while needing to mourn was mandatory, I found it equally important to stay productive in order to stay sane.

 I can sulk and do nothing or I can sulk and get stuff done. A no brainer, however, know what being productive really did?  It gave me a kick start in the right direction and kinda caught on. Just like what my Christmas decorating did for me this season. I still felt lousy, but I would have been far worse curled up in bed for days on end.

But more than that… my son needed me. And I did something about it. This was my problem, not his. So I didn’t allow him to suffer.


 Allow others to be involved

Do you wanna know who one of the most stubborn people on earth is? You’re looking at her blog right now.

I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like bothering people. I want to be self sufficient and do it all on my own!

But know what?  Not only does it hurt me, it hurts my son. I deny him opportunity if I don’t allow others in. And I also deny the others wishing to help.

One of the greatest lessons of all is when I allowed friends help me fix my house. I had hit bottom where everything was breaking and I couldn’t get out on my own. Once I allowed others in to help, not only did it fix what was broke, it taught me valuable life skills on how good humanity really is.

Trust is earned over time. So give it a fighting chance.


 Allow happiness

Every so often when I think of my mom passing, I’ll either break out in a smile or a frown. And for some reason, I’m more comfortable when it’s a frown. I ought to be miserable and miss her, right?!?

Why oh WHY do we deny ourselves happiness? Remember the good things and smile! Teach others around you how you deal, by allowing happiness back in. Be good to yourself. Say yes to invites. Do things that make you happy. Allow happy back in and your heart will soften. Who knows.. you may even find happiness. 🙂


Appreciate the simple

Everything sure is expensive to buy these days, isn’t it? I mean, all the good things in life cost a bundle!

When was the last time you took a walk during a new snowfall? How about watching leaves spiral off a twiggy tree? And then there’s the cuddly purring cat on your lap or the hilariously snoring dog by your side. One of my favorites? Dust motes floating in a sunbeam.

Breathe, look, smell, appreciate, hear, love, hug, smile. All free. Put the visa away and go have yourself a merry little simply free day.



Running away is never the answer to anything. However, a short escape can save you from time to time.

I remember a time when I felt deep sorrow, the only thing that made me feel better was picking up a good book on the very topic that ailed me. It was if the words reaffirmed I had done everything I could.

Reading a non topic book was helpful too. It took me to another world far away from the one I was in for a brief time.

Naps and enough rest are helpful too.



 Imagine waking up in the morning dreading what’s ahead. And then there’s waking up in the morning believing it’s a new day with brand new opportunity. Which would you choose?

Believe you can make things better. Believe in a higher power that will help you through the dark moments. Believe in others. And believe in yourself.

Because if I can do this, so can you.

Any tips on getting through hard times that have worked for you?

The Lettered Cottage

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Categories: Inspiration

96 thoughts on “How do you get through tough times?

  1. Good morning, Donna! What a lovely piece – you are so gifted with words, an artist with camera, ink and pen and in so many ways. thank you for this – we all have issues, every person has hurts, we all mourn – and that is what makes us human. You touched on a lot of very deep issues, and I commend you for your insight and openess and being willing and able to share. you are a blessing. Thank you, Donna. What I wish for you – Peace. and a Blessed Christmas and a really Happy and successful Next Year. Betty

  2. What a wonderful and inspiring post! It made my heart happy just reading it. We all have hard times, rocky roads or a bad day, but it all depends on how you see the view from where you are as to how you handle them. I CHOOSE to see the silver lining in every situation. You’re right…..everything does happen for a reason…part of God’s bigger plan and sometimes we just have to trust. Thanks for your post, it was a wonderful way to start my day! :0)

  3. “Allow Happiness Back In” – Wow! that one phrase says it all. Sometimes in our grief we forget to let things change back…to appreciate the things that are still good and yes let ourselves be happy again.

    Very good post. Yes, many struggle this season. I have to remind myself not to mourn what is gone but appreciate what I have now. I might not have the family christmases of my youth…but I DO have Christmases that are very nice…just different from what I had before. I HAVE to remember this….to allow the happiness back in.

    And yes, it helped me to read books on topics of whatever I was going through in the past…made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that I had done the best I could do.

  4. Dear Donna ~ What a positive, uplifting and encouraging post. I too believe that each day is a new gift and am thankful to God, the Great Creator of each one. My hope and faith are in Him. There is so much in life to be thankful for, so many lessons to learn, through good times and bad times.

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts from your heart at this time.

    I hope your dear son will soon be feeling much better.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  5. Donna, it’s good to read a post like this. Sometimes we can all be inundated with “holiday cheer” and it makes us feel like we are supposed to be happy. And when we are less so, it’s magnified by the illusion that everyone around you is in that elusive happy place but us.
    When the truth is that the road of life is not always a paved road, and everyone has their own gravel and pitholes in it.
    Very inspiring post Donna.
    ~ janette

  6. You’ve captured so much within this post. It’s honest and inspiring.

    Life is filled with so much that’s beyond our control – but you’re right it’s our choice as walk thru each day, what we decide to focus on that makes the difference in the quality of our life.

    Thank you for following your heart and sharing this…..


  7. I remember one Christmas, many years ago, when I was in a “bad” place, financially and mentally. A friend and I were talking about all the perfect Christmases depicted in the media, the huge gifts that places like Future Shop were urging us to buy, and my friend said “Don’t forget, Martha Stewart has a staff of 70; how can we compete with that?” So now, every time something is not perfect (Chtistmas or otherwise), I just remember that, and it helps!

  8. Dear Donna–This morning your post was just what this girl needed! Thank you! I feel like a flower in the snow right now. I now what you mean by “owning” your situation. Your post has brought my a lot of comfort and I am looking forward to what this day has to offer. Blessings for you and your family during the Christmas season~

  9. What a wonderful post! I cannot really add anything to your post.. except for… three things that I focus on when things aren’t going as well as I’d hope..
    a. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.
    b. Everyday might not be good, but there is something good in everyday.
    c. Everything is okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.

    oh one more!
    ‘When All is Lost, All is left to gain’ Mat Kearney

    Great post & perfect timing.

  10. Donna, this post is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it! I’m bookmarking it in my inspiration category. My life philosophy is very similar to yours as you’ve described it. Personally, I have chronic migraine disease (almost daily migraines) for 9 years now. But, my life is so blessed by my husband, children, and countless other things. Even the illness has blessed me because I am a different person because of it – a better person deep down inside. I think an “attitude of gratitude” can totally change the way you feel/respond in ANY situation. You just have to be willing to let go of what you thought things would be like and be open to what is right in front of you. Thanks again and God bless you and yours. Hope your son, truck and computer heal up very quickly!

  11. thought-provoking post! in the darkest time of my life, i compartmentalized…this hr for my daughter – that one for my MIL; this day for one – the next one for the other. and sometimes i RAN AWAY!…didn’t answer the phone, was unavaible to everyone, etc, even if it was just an hr…that helped a lot! be assured – we NEVER walk this alone! *hugs!*

  12. Thank you for your post , from a mom who lost her daugther Oct. 17 2010 . It was just what I needed . She told her father and I before she died not cry for me be happy . It is very hard and your right staying busy helps . Thanks for the reminder.

  13. What a fantastic way to look at life. We too were hit with the bad luck bug, and I believe choosing to ignore it and continue on our oath would have been detrimental. On a VERY planned vacation to see my husbands family for christmas (with whom we have never spent the holidays because realistically it’s too far and too expensive to do), we were forced to rethink our financial capability, as well as the travel, there is a state of emergency called through ontario where we were supposed to be today. That being said, I was very angry for a couple days at all the hard work I put in planning and saving. Then I realized what was more important, # 1, we didn’t end up stranded anywhere, #2, we can have a fantastic christmas with our friends and children here, #3, my sister in law is pregnant and due at the end of june, the same time as my father in-law’s birthday, which was a trip we were planning to take anyways to see him. Now I have the joy of not only seeing the entire family, but we get to welcome a new niece or nephew, that will be a first for us, seeing as how far away we live. And I also got some strength form my friends, who made it more clear to me what was visible that I wasn’t seeing. Thank you for your post and that little extra in helping see what we sometimes tend to miss during our sad or bad times.

  14. Can you please say all this to my 28 year old daughter that I’m not suppose to say anything to? Nothing is perfect, not even Donna! You are just so smart in life. Thank you!
    Enjoy your snow.

  15. Donna, Thank you so much for this post. I am the most positive thinker that I know on this planet. The past few years have been the most trying due to a condition that one of my sons has. I too try to do everything I can to improve the situation, make everything okay, keep a smile on my face and to keep the mood of the house ‘light’ and like everything is going to be ‘okay’ if not for me, for the sake of my other two kids, that suffer too for what’s been going on. In the midst of it all, medical bills pile up for portions that have not been covered by insurance (when the insurance alone cost more than we could afford in the first place but we had no choice), credit cards have piled up for co-payments and parking since it had to be Boston (even plane tickets for further away treatments had to go on credit cards) for certain treatments etc. In the midst of it all, there’s my business that needs to keep going. I am SO grateful that I remained busier than ever last year when many designers and workrooms had to close their doors. Its difficult to remain positive when the profits from jobs were earmarked for paying off the roof replacement (yes, our spring storms destroyed rooms in our home, then the whole roof had to go (surprise!) INCLUDING plywood because they found mold in the attic which doubled the cost)… ended up having to replace my crashed computer, then 9 days later my husband’s radiator blew ($1000)… yes – I feel your pain! But amidst it all, I love my family, I love my home, I love my job and with a positive outlook and encouraging words like yours, we will get through these tough times. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, I truly believe so and I thank God every day when there is something that we need but just can’t afford right now, and somehow it shows up for free. We have a broken window pain on an exterior door and are now losing heat through it. We keep trying to seal it up to no avail, but the cold breeze finds it’s way in. Replacement glass is not in the budget right now. Yesterday, a neighbor put a door out to the curb with a ‘free’ sign on it. I measured and would you believe it is the RIGHT size? It is identical to my door. My kids and I put it in my van last night! God is good and he is looking out for us. Sorry to ramble. I want you to know my prayers are with you and your family and that you are not alone…

  16. I believe you are my little angel this Christmas season – because I sure needed this today. Thank you – thank you B

  17. This is a wonderful and inspiring post! I really enjoyed it. I agree so much about owning your decisions. I totally get that! I have a plaque in my guest bath that reads; “Every new day is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.” This is such a postive attitude adjustment for me every day I see it.

  18. WOW. I so enjoyed reading this and pictures of the beautiful flowers appearing up out of the snow, struggling to survive as we all do. Thank U, Thank U. This is a lot to think about and so hits home. Merry Christmas.

  19. Your post was so beautifully written and the photos of the flowers in the snow were so fitting.
    I think the one thing that has gotten me through a tough time is to choose to believe that God loves me more than i know and that He doesn’t allow anything in my life that isn’t for my ultimate good. I believe that I have learned things through the hard times that I would not have had the chance to learn otherwise. I’m a slow learner at times and sometimes when i was in the middle of the tough time I couldn’t see it, but when i look back at the experience i know it’s true and can understand more of what he was trying to teach me.

  20. Donna, thanks for sharing such an open and honest posting. It has provided me with just the reminder that we all need. When I first found the blog world, I never expected to find inspiration for life, but I sure am glad that I did. Hoping you find a few minutes just to be, Laura

  21. Yes. Amen. Hallelujah.

    I love you.


    oh and I just want to mention that you are an authority on the subject because YOU HAVE LIVED IT!!!!! and LIVED TO TELL IT!

  22. Good morning lady! This was a beautifully written post by a beautifully REAL person! I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, whether we are to know that reason or not….it shapes who we are. I am also a strong believer in prayer. I do not pray for God to take away my situation, rather for the strengh to deal with it and for Him to lift that burden of stree off my shoulders. And, I’m right on board with Eates-A-Lot.
    Absolutely gorgeous pictures…perfect for this post. Keep doin’ what you do, Donna!

  23. Donna, I truly believe in the saying of what goes around comes around. I know you will reflect one day on these hard times when you are in a place of peace and happiness. For now you are doing all the right things. xxoo

  24. You asked for any tips to get through tough times,Donna.
    Well for it is
    When you get finished-
    Pray some more.
    Keep praying.

    Eventually– your Prayer turns to Praise.
    Then Praise Him! for the good and the bad.

  25. I pray and trust in God. We are in a very hard spot right now. A parents worst nightmare really, but I haven’t allowed it to penetrate the happy person that I am. If I let it – which the devil would love – this situation could sour the person I truly am. I could be depressed, angry, hurtful, but I am not. I have put trust in the lord & prayed with all my heart that it will be ok, and I believe in the end it will be. God is providing me strength in a time of need and he is transforming me on a daily basis. Our hard times are learning curves to grow into something better than our former selves. I also remember – God watched as “we” crucified his son on the cross – and really nothing we face is as bad as that. Merry Christmas and God Bless 🙂

  26. Fabulous post Donna. There are so many people going thru hard times right now, but you’re right -it makes a difference how you deal with it. You bring to you what you put out there. I absolutely believe that.

    Listen, I could be driving that Ugly List Train right now! But, I too try to see the reason behind every bad thing and find the good in it.

    Case in point: We drove to Rhode Island over Thanksgiving (1100 miles!).
    Needed new tires the back of the suv. Couldn’t afford it. We have another car in the shop (for 2 months now). Went to check on it, casually mentioned that I had to figure out a way to get a set of tires on the back of the suv before we headed out. Guy told me both cars had the same tires, so how about if he “just swapped them out for me?”. Didn’t charge me a dime.

    B4 that, by 2 weeks, this same suv was parked in a truck stop parking lot (for 2 weeks) because the alternator went out a half hour from home. Couldn’t afford a new one. Ordered a used one from a place only to find out that it didn’t work. However, in dealing with that place, I found a very hard to find part that my nephew needed for his truck.

    Decided to bite the bullet and go in an auto parts store to buy a new one. Went in, told the guy what had happened. He walked me outside to ‘look’ at my car (knowing it wasn’t there). He told me where to buy another used one online that would guarantee the part – AND – AND, he would put it in for me for $50! Turns out he lived less than a mile from where my car was stranded in another town!(The really good in the potentially bad.)

    On the way to RI, I kept wanting to stop for a drink. Hubby said wait, but I insisted because I couldn’t stop coughing. When we came out of the store, the car wouldn’t start. We were in the middle of nowhere, and this little station was all there was for miles. Our battery had died. A man coming out of the store offered to jump the car off. He got it started back after several tries, and then led us to a place where we could find a new battery. Oh yeah, the guy was a preacher, and he knew of the only little shop in nowhereville that could help us. (God, definitely God.) If we had not stopped, and not ran into this guy, we would’ve literally been stranded on the interstate in the middle of nowhere without cell phone or gps service in 20 degree weather with no food or drink.(Still makes me cry even now at God’s provision in my life).

    Lastly, on the way home from RI, we were trying to meet a self-imposed schedule to get back. We were so tired from the drive! My hip was hurting from all the sitting, so I made hubby stop at 2 rest stops so I could walk around. He was irritated that it would cause us to get home in the wee hours of the morning. Then, about 2 hours from home, we suddenly got stuck in traffic. Hubby said that if we hadn’t stopped, we could’ve missed this by 45 minutes. We could see the backup for at least 10 miles. We were stuck for over an hour. Once we got close enough to see the problem, there was an 8 car wreck! It was really bad and covered both sides of the interstate. We later found out that it had happened about 45 minutes prior (!!), and that 5 people lost their lives. IF WE HAD NOT STOPPED for me to walk around, twice, we could’ve been one of the victims!

    So, it’s true, there IS something good to be had in every bad situation. Whether it’s a lesson learned, or a new friend found, or even a new resource for your files. It doesn’t matter how big or little the good is, it’s always there.

    I learned a long time ago not to mess with God’s timing. It’ll get you in trouble every time.

    Sorry to write my own post in your comments! You know me – you understand my need to ramble! 🙂

    Thank you for such a touuhing post.

  27. Those are wonderful Donna and so true! I think by owning what we are feeling we can get through it. Shutting down is not an option, at least not for a long period of time. I rely on friends and family to help, to talk, talking is the best medicine for me. Hearing what I am thinking out loud has helped me get through many things. I love your attitude and posting this helps so many people!! Bless you and I hope that your son feels better and things run smoother for you! 🙂

  28. Feel blessed to have read your post and all the wonderful comments that others have left you. It truly is how to look at the things. Some times it is hard to see the good in the middle of the storm.

  29. As I sit here in tears reading your post and then the following comments, my heart is blessed. My list of hard times is too long. I have been encouraged knowing that I am not alone. I decided to include this post in my blog today in hopes that someone else will be touch and strengthened as I have been.

    I love what Eates-A-Lot added. Thanks to each one of you that shared and especially to Donna for her post. You are one wonderful woman and i thank you from the bottom of my heart, today. Merry Christmas to all.

  30. Wow! great post! This christmas is a little strange for us. Our kids are mad at us (we have had to do some tough love this year) my family of origin has had a year of mental health challenges and divorces, and we found out two days ago my MIL has breast cancer again and will be having surgery in early January.

    Needless to say I didn’t feel much like getting out all the holiday hulliballew. So I allowed myself simple pleasures that still bring a holiday spirit into our home, a few candles, a pot of paperwhites, lights on the mantle. But that’s about all I have done this year. And I have really enjoyed the season. It has been a no pressure added year for Christmas. And the bonus is… we are running away… a few days in Santa Fe is our gift to each other this year!

    Next year… I may do the biggest tree ever, but it just didn’t feel right this year. So I would say give yourself permission to do (or not do) the things you feel like doing.

    Enjoying getting to know your blog!

  31. Thank you for writing about real life. Farm life is often tough and your words (and pics) help. I just came in from burying my favorite old competition horse, who was suffering from advanced cancer. Feeling like it marks the end of a big chapter of my life… Your post was exactly what I needed. Now I’ll go out and scratch a young horse and dream about her future.
    You bring so much happiness and “escapes” to so many. I wish you and your son great peace and Joy this season.

  32. donna we all have had our challenges guess thats what makes us human. times are good for me now but this has not always been the case. many times i have had to allow others to experience the wonder feelings of helping someone in need. this is a gift we give to others. this is esp great when it is a strong person that needs our help, its that whole pay it forward thing. life to me is about attitude. seeing the good in the seemingly bad. few months back i had a switch in my work sched [i was pretty unhappy about] we had a tornado [not typical for this area] and my husband left late. we would have been in the middle of that thing! lots of damage but we were safe he heard it on radio in truck ,came home to me, interstate was closed for hrs. so he could have been hurt or stranded on interstate for hrs.i thank god we are ok.
    many are having a difficult time this yr. sometimes i feel unworthy that my life is so good however i do not take it for granet. its not perfect but its perfect for me ;).

  33. So many excellent points! The one that struck home was “allow others to be involved,” one I have a hard time doing. Times have been tough for my husband and I for quite awhile now, and when someone asks to help or “be involved,” we tend to tell them thanks, but if we need your help later on we’ll come to you then (which we never do). What that narrows down to is a whole lot of pride…yes, admitting you need help is a tough one! Regardless of our current lousy hand in life, we’re still thankful for who we are and what we have. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that we tend to overlook…but they also make the such a positive impact in our lives too!

  34. Fabulous. Just fabulous!

    I couldn’t get to sleep last night so I wrote this instead.

    I’m tired today, but it appears to be for a very good reason. 🙂 Thank-you for sharing where you’re at and what this did for you. That blesses me right back like you have no idea.


  35. Donna, I am going to share your post with some of my non-blog friends who are feeling the same way right now. I can’t even put to words how you have touched me with your words.

    I am going to be joining a wonderful group of women in something we are calling The Experiment, it start’s January 1st for 3 months. The Experiment is online and Together we will laugh, learn, and find a new way to do our one busy and crazy wild life. The more the merrier if you or anyone here would like to join us. (it’s free to join) I will be posting more about it on my blog or you can email me at for more info.



  36. i remind myself when i am feeling down, that i hamy family and friends who love me and who i love. and when it comes down to it, we all help each other get through the hard times. knowing we are there for each other helps. exercise also helps- there are the metaphysical effects like endorphins, but also, you just feel better about yourself and like you CAN climb those metaphoric mountains in your life. Yes, you can!

  37. You are so inspiring and you say so many things I am looking for someone to say. Add the pictures of the flowers in the snow and this is indeed some wonderful therapy. Please keep doing what you are doing here. It’s great. God bless you… and I hope your little boy is better.

  38. My son is currently back to school for the 2nd day. YES!! Just in time for the children’s school Christmas program! What immaculate timing. I’d hate to miss it.. it’s a must see highlight of mine each year. Children singing… does it get any better?

    Thanks all for the get well/be well wishes!


  39. Resiliance (sp?) is key, key, key. Put that foot in front of the other. Buck up and carry on. Winter won’t last always. That’s how I get through the tough times.

  40. Donna,
    I could tell your post was very heartfelt and real. I think that journaling has always helped make me feel a little better after experiencing something difficult or sad or frustrating or whatever. Throwing myself into creating something has helped me too. But I found that volunteering to do something for someone else is the best therapy you can give yourself. I think that helping someone else can give your self worth a huge boost. Besides it makes the heart swell with love and compassion for another human being. Your pictures today speak volumes to me. Flowers so beautiful and delicate encased in freezing snow and ice still look beautiful – just in a different way. Hugs to you.


  41. I am and have been for the last few months dealing with inner issues that are all my own Steps I should have taken but didnt because of fear. Looking for ways to face and deal. Nice to know that I am not alone .Everyone has “those kind of day. (and weeks in your case) and its ok. I have found its HOW we go through right?Its a struggle for me but I am determined.

  42. Wow- wonderful post. I think my tips include yorus, as well as “hang on.” By that I mean, not giving up, and realizing that most things have a lifespan. I am struggling now with feeling so let down by others, so asking for help is hard, because I keep getting turned down. So, that has forced me to “look outside the box”. This is a very important skill- to look at things from all sides and figure out another way to going about it. I haven’t been reading much lately, and picking up a few free books at the local swap was a really good break for me. Thanks for all of the reminders!

  43. I also needed this. Thanks <3

    Facebook status: “Breathe, look, smell, appreciate, hear, love, hug, smile. All free. Put the visa away and go have yourself a merry little simply free day.”

  44. Donna,
    Because you couldnt sleep, many women have been touched. Thank you
    for your honesty in sharing this post…it is food for the soul..and quite nourishing.
    Your heart & thoughts here today have lifted your friends up today, including this girl.

    Deborah xoxo

  45. Hi Donna,
    Thank you for sharing the things you have learned and what you have done to help yourself. We all need to hear words like this to remind us that how we think really can make a difference. I think it is essential to pass this ability on to our kids, there are some mighty powerful lessons your son is learning from your example.
    As a person who has suffered depression and anxiety on and off for most of my adult life, I am finally (through a lot of hard work), able to work my way through the down times by realising that I am the only one who can help myself. It’s so hard, but so worth it when I make the effort. Being a very creative and artistic person, I use the things I love to do to help myself. I lose myself in that creative world and it’s wonderful.
    My daughters are 20 and 17 and even though I struggle with depression, I know I’m showing them by example to be resilient despite what life throws at me.
    Wishing you wonderful days ahead and I’m so glad to hear you son is well again.
    Take care,
    Anne xx

  46. Thank you so much for this post. My husband died last week totally out of the blue and forcing myself to log on this morning, this post popped up and spoke to me. Your words and powerful imagery have helped this struggling bloom in the snow. I will save and reread many times I thinkxxx

  47. wow so much wisdom out there 😉 makes me so grateful for my life family where i live i could go on and on. its hard during the tough times to step back and know that this too shall pass. and realize there was probably some kind of a lesson in there somewhere. donna you are truely loved by us bloggers 😉

  48. Beautiful post ~ and gorgeous photos. Thanks so much for sharing! Yes, we all have difficult times and it is up to us to determine our reaction. God’s timing is perfect, although we may not understand at the moment. He has the tapestry of life and all is perfect according to His plan.

    I think that doing things for others is a great way to get one’s mind off of self. This time of year is especially good for that. Run errands for shut-ins, give food to the elderly or others in need, volunteer at a shelter or hospital, etc. Visiting those in nursing homes who do not have friends of family around brings so much joy to them! Visiting children at a hospital is great too…taking treats to their families waiting can be a blessing. I won’t ramble any further ~ 🙂 I guess the main thing is to think outside the proverbial box.

    Have a happy and blessed holiday season!

  49. Donna so many great words of encouragement from you and the comments. I am in awe of the great profound insite you have and your ability to be so raw and vunerable and strong and resilient – much like the photos in your post…
    My dear I so appreciate you and what you do through your blog by reaching out to others and showing them beauty in “junk” and in themselves. I am truly happy that your son has recovered and that you have not lost sight of what the season is really about. Blessings. Elaine

  50. What wonderful words you have for us here today, Donna.
    I am blown away by the wisdom you have at such a young age. Your son is a very blessed little boy, to have such a great mom…and you are blessed to have such a handsome young man for your son.

    You, sweet girl, are gonna be just fine!
    xo bj

  51. Everyone you talk to has down times. As I do from time to time. My Mother’s word are “Don’t sweat the small stuff” I try to remember there are others far worse off than me. Your insight into the problems of life are wise. Enjoy the Holidays and own all the smiles and the tears that come your way. Chris

  52. I’ve been absent lately. Some of it due to school but some of it due to grief. I have thought about you. Because I know you GET IT.

    I wrote a post about how I am coping today coincidentally. No decorating. And I am a ok.

    Be blessed dear one. May the new year hold only good things for you and yours.

  53. I love your blog today! My family is going through a rough patch as we just lost our oldest sis a week ago. My youngest sis and I were just talking tonight about how we need to get past this and just try to enjoy the holidays and hold on to the memories. You have to hold your head high and carry on. You had some great insight and I thank you for it. Merry Christmas.

  54. Donna,
    Wonderful Post! HEART SPOKEN………
    I needed this…1st Christmas without my Mom, she went to be with the Lord on Nov. 9th 2010.
    My sister-in-law has Breast Cancer.
    Thanks for the Beautiful Pictures and Your Insight!

  55. God has been speaking to ME lately through thoughts written by others, EXACTLY like you have just done. Thanks so much for sharing these truths Donna. Wonderful and important reminders to each of us. 😉

  56. Thank you so much for this post…you have no idea how I (and so many others) needed to see something like this right now!!!

  57. What a beautiful post. I read quite a few blogs daily. I have been so busy for the last few weeks that I have only had time to read 2 or 3 a day. I am sure glad that your blog is one that I never miss. Your home looks beautiful decorated for Christmas.

  58. I follow your website and find everything you work on beautiful and love the inspiration. That being said when I read your post I was moved to tears. You said what I wish more people were brave enough to say. I have had a very difficult year and a half but you are right, you must own your life, your feelings, your situation. It is often a painful process but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I believe I am on a path to overcome many issues I have been dealing with since my childhood. I will be a better wife, mother and a happier person. Your post was so refreshing, I wish more people (women) were brave enough to be honest and acknowledge their struggles so we don’t all feel so alone in our own personal struggles. Life is not perfect, the holidays are stressful, our kids often drive us crazy, if my husband eats microwave popcorn in my bed I might kill him but none of that changes the fact that I adore my husband, I love my kids and often the things they do that drive me crazy are the things I love about them the most. Life is complicated.

  59. This is not the type of post that I generally expect from you, but it was beautiful none the less. I think that this is definitely an important lesson that each of us has to learn in life. Each of us is responsible for how we choose to see our circumstances. We can wallow in self pity or we can get up and appreciate the lesson and be grateful. Everything that happens does have a reason and a lesson, it is up to us to figure out what they are so that they can enrich our lives. Thank you for your inspirational post!

  60. Very inspiring post. It’s that time of year when we’re supposed to take time to reflect and count our blessings, when in truth, for some, that’s easier said than done. There is no ideal life, not even such a thing as “normal” I don’t believe, but I do believe that ultimately, regardless of our trials and circumstances, that we are each, as individuals, responsible for our own well-being and happiness. All we can do is go with life’s flow, one day at a time. Have a very blessed holiday! 🙂

  61. Amen! I am a firm believer in the fact that people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be!

    Today I helped deliver Christmas presents to a family of a single mother with 4 children, ages 8,10,12&13. The mother is dying of liver cancer. When she put in her request for her family she didn’t ask for much….bedding for the kids. Today we didn’t find a woman who felt sorry for herself. She was joyous and thankful. She is not bitter like you might anticipate you would find. She is hopeful for the future. Grateful for help without a sense of entitlement.

    We are all born with a purpose. In seeking and or finding that purpose we will find our joy.

    Blessings to you.

  62. This is always a hard time of year for me because I miss my family so much. They are all in Australia, and I am Canada. But you are right, it’s my choices that brought me here.
    I’m another person who struggles with anxiety and depression. I work very hard at being grateful for the abundance in my life. I believe if you concentrate all your effort on the ways your life is lacking, then of course the lack is all that you will see. So likewise, focus on the abundance and you will see abundance.
    There are good and bad things in every day, it’s up to us to chose which to focus on.

  63. Donna, You are a true gem of a person. I love your upbeat attitude and how you make the simple things in life count. You look at the shadows and see the light that made them. I hope this year will bring you many more blessings than you can possibly handle.

    Thank you for being real and for sharing your journey.
    Hugs to you,

  64. Hello Donna,
    Your post is beautiful! You have a gift in being able to so eloquently express your thoughts and feelings. I especially love the “Appreciate the Simple”; I truly believe this is where God reveals Himself to us…in the simple, quiet, reflective, appreciative and sweet moments when we are still and our hearts are wide open to just being thankful! Praying 2011 is full of blessings for you and your precious son!

  65. I remembered reading this when you first posted it and find myself back here today when I am in the midst of the toughest time. Thank you for the inspiration your words give my heart. I hope 2011 is a better year for you and your family.

    Your Friend,

  66. Hi Donna
    I have been following your blog for a while now abut only recently read your story. I can relate in so many way. I am also a single mom of a pre-teen boy. He has special needs which adds a challenging element to our life. I loved this post because it gave me the kick in the butt to get up and fix what I need to fix to bring my life where I want it to be. It has been a very hard 12 months but it is time that I move forward and get things heading in the right path. Thank you again for the boost I needed. Meg

  67. Wow, Donna! Almost a year ago! I think you should regularly schedule a reposting of this every single year, right before Thanksgiving!

    Thank you so much. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

  68. What a beautiful post! I agree with the above commentor, schedule it! 🙂 Thanks for sharing & your new design header rocks!! Well done :)Jessica (aka nucheysmommy – changed my name & got a new design)

  69. Thank you for this post. You shared some deep and personal emotions but I think that’s why I hear what you are saying so clearly. You are certainly a gifted woman, with words and with photography. Thank you for using your gift and sharing your insights.

  70. you and all things thrifty were the 2 first blog sites i was reading about a few months back when I struck an interest in bringing life back into “junk” your site has inspired me to start blogging (an old obsession), and it is very overwhelming for me at this stage of it all I feel so confused, uncertain, and micriscopic in all of this, you have shown me to simplify, take things day by day, get my foot in the door, share my story and my love for vintage “junk” with anyone who wants to listen and let that be enough. I really do appriciate the words you have written and I really can relate to you and every topic you touch base one. I am a loyal reader and follower of yours and just want to thank you for your posts, your work, and your words. you are very talented and relatable and I wish you a very happy holiday season!

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