It is 2:43 a.m. this morning as I write this post. I woke up and could not get back to sleep so I decided to get out of bed, light a virtual fireplace, and do some work on this blog.
There is a new page on the menu – “Holiday Helps.” It is filled with various articles, websites, music and book recommendations to help you get through the holiday season. There is something on this page for everyone, whether you are grieving or just stressed out from all the chaos.
There is also a sub-page, “Joy Filled Recipes” that contains links to unhealthy but extremely delicious recipes.
I will add to the pages as I find more resources or recipes that you will enjoy.
I did not start Ann’s book until several years after it was released. I thought it was just another fluff piece of chick-flick type literature. However once I turned the first page, Ann’s words hit me hard. I realized this was definitely not going to be a fluff piece of work but was going to have a lot of weight and substance to it.
Ann makes me think, and think deeply which satisfies the introvert in me. Always looking inward to see how I can better myself. I’ve even had the pleasure of being on her book launch teams for The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into The Abundant Life and The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey Into A Deeply Meaningful Life.
I can’t think of a better way to get through the Christmas season than to do this Bible study – especially since I am in retail. I need all the help and encouragement I can get.
This is my gratitude journal – well one of them. I have a smaller one on the side table in the living room that has over 800 entries.
These 2 pages in my red journal were completed this morning. Entries were also highlighted and washi taped because that’s just what I do – make my journal colorful.
I have been working on this book a long time and will admit to not being as diligent as I should be in writing down moments for which to be thankful. The color of the pen I use varies throughout my journal.
You might be wondering what was #1,000 on my list well, it was a driver at work rescuing a lamb that was stuck on a fence.
The people he was delivering to were not home and the lamb had been there awhile. He unstuck him and the lamb immediately started eating some grass.
So rest assured, the Lamb of God is alive and well.
Quotes About Giving Thanks
The quote I have inside my journal.
Lest you think this being thankful and counting gifts is some New Age thing, it is not. I also have this reminder on my computer.
So are you asleep or are you truly woke to a thankful life filled with wonder and joy?
Halloween was Rommie’s favorite holiday as a lot of little people came to see her – and some big kids too. She loved to pass our kisses and roll over for belly rubs. Every time that doorbell rang she knew what it meant.
She even had her own 2-drawer dresser in which I kept her clothes. Whenever I reached in and pulled out her jester collar she came running when she heard the jingle, jangle of the bells.
It’s less painful now to pass out candy since her passing 4 years ago but I still miss those Halloween nights with my golden girl.
When I attended GriefShare there were two videos dedicated to counting down the top 20 lessons one learns while going through grief. God’s sovereignty is their number one lesson and it is that lesson combined with a few things going on in this wild, wacky and wonderful world that inspired this post.
Contrary to popular opinion, it does not take two to make a baby. It takes three – man, woman and God; a different type of Holy Trinity.
If God wants there to be a baby, then a couple will have a baby. Just think of how crowded the world would be if a man and a woman had a baby every time they made love. That does not happen because God does not want it to happen. He wants men and women to experience the pleasure of love making and not always have a baby.
When Joe and I married we decided to leave the decision about having children up to God. If He wanted us to have them then we would. However God knew our future, He knew the marriage would only last 14 3/4 years. So He decided we should not have children.
Instead, He blessed us with a golden fur child we named Rommie. We had some great times together as a family before Joe passed away. Rommie and I had some wonderful times together before she joined Joe in heaven 4 years ago. We were so thankful God brought her into our lives.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16 New International Version (NIV)
He also knew you, the moment you would burst forth in this world and how your life was going to fit into the the grand plan He had set in place.
He knew your trials and tribulations, your highs and lows and your successes and failures. All this He knew long before you were born.
Not only did God know everything about you before creation,He LOVED and STILL LOVES you despite your shortcomings.
Since He knew us and the moment of our birth, it also means He knows the exact moment we will move to heaven. We can not do anything to lengthen our lives.
There is nothing I could have done to stop Joe from moving to heaven. His move was predestined – just as the date of my move was written in stone before God created earth and heaven.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
Psalm 116:15 New International Version (NIV)
Thy Will Be Done
So often we rage against God for thwarting our plans. We act as if we are in charge and God is our personal genie at our beck and call. He is to do as we say and not function according to His will.
But that is not the case.
There is a reason the Lord’s Prayer contains the line
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.(Matthew 6:10)
It is because God is in control. His will is perfect and better than ours – always has been and always will be. Even Jesus knew His Father was in charge.
Our birth and death are not the only things God alone controls. He also reigns supreme over the climate and the weather.
Weather is defined by m-w.com as: “the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness.”
I am writing this on a balmy October morn here in Northeast Ohio. Balmy is not a word we use to describe October weather. When this post publishes the state of the atmosphere will be fall-like and not balmy.
If I Ruled The World balmy weather would continue till January (need 6 weeks of 32 or below to keep the insect population under control).
But I do not control the weather. Temperatures will fall, as they normally do this time of year resulting in windows being closed and wearing long sleeve fleece tops instead of my silky sleeveless ones.
The falling temps will eventually result in scenic views such as:
If humans could change the weather us Northeast Ohioans would turn a steering wheel and send all the Lake Effect Snow to Michigan. The folks at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) would turn a steering wheel and drive all hurricanes out to sea.
But we can’t send our snow to Michigan and hurricanes can’t be driven out to sea by humans. Only God can steer snow and hurricanes. He is exceptional at controlling the weather because He created it.
24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Matthew 8:24-27 English Standard Version (ESV) Emphasis Mine
Climate is defined by m-w.com as: “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation.”
Any climate change is a result of God, not man.
If God wants Ohio to be an arid zone, then He will change it. If he wants Texas to be covered in ice, then so be it. The climate is His and His alone to control.
Ever since God created the earth, it has gone through heating and cooling cycles. Cycles that last longer than our life span.
Nothing we do will stop Him from implementing His plan. He is weaving all our light and dark moments (both individually and collectively as humans) together and one day we will see His finished project.
The Only Climate We Can Change
We can only change the climate of our hearts. How? Pray, Love God, and Love your neighbor.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22: 37-40 English Standard Version (ESV)
Under New Management – Not New Ownership
This world was created by God and given to us to manage. Have we managed it well – sometimes yes and sometimes no.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Genesis 2:15 English Standard Version (ESV)
Do we pollute the air more than we should – yes. Do we litter more than we should – yes. But God already knew how we would manage the world.He already knew about our use of petroleum, coal and natural gas and knew we would raise cows for our dairy and meat needs.
He knew because He gave us the knowledge and talent to be creative and invent technology that would help us thrive and prosper generation after generation.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
Psalm 119:90 New International Version (NIV) Emphasis mine.
Quit trying to put yourself on the same level with God. We answer to Him, He does not answer to us. He owes us no explanation for anything that happens including earthquakes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, and untimely deaths.
The Bottom Line
We will be fine despite littering, polluting, farting cows and other things. The climate will continue to go through cycles and we will live the exact number of years God predetermined before creation.
So work on changing the climate of your heart, taking care of the planet and all of God’s creatures great and small but remember
This is the last summer weekend as fall officially arrives in Northeast Ohio Thursday, October 3rd when it will be rainy with a high of 65 degrees.
Until then we are blessed with more 70’s, 80’s and even a 90 degree day with some rain. Expect people to play hooky from work (like the Cleveland Indians did) this week so they can seize the last of the summer weather.
Personally, I am NOT ready for long sleeves and sweaters. I hate being cold because being cold means I am unloved. I have always felt this way. Yes, I know that being God’s daughter means He loves me even when the whole world does not.
Cool mornings and warm afternoons will give way to cooler days and even cooler nights which means a change in routine. More time will be spent indoors. More time spent reading and writing. (I really slacked off on my reading the past couple of months and need to pick up the pace.)
It also means more time spent in front of the boob tube watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, (Amazon – December 6) Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (Amazon – November 1st), and the 3rd season of The Crown (NetFlix – November 17th). Other than those shows, I do not watch television.
My Fall Goals
Besides reading more, my goal is to spend 30 minutes a day on this blog. My tasks are to write and clean up and reformat old posts. After all, JoyReturns will be 9 years old on January 13, 2020 and she needs to be whipped into shape because something will return starting Saturday, January 18th, 2020. It brings me joy just thinking about it.
I also looked at my stats and discovered a milestone on the horizon. Reaching this milestone is only a few blog posts away, so I decided to go for it. This means more blog posts than originally planned. Since I work in retail, I better get them written as starting mid-November, life will be very chaotic.
Fall Bible Study
This is the new study our church is doing this fall. The small group I’m in meets once a month to discuss it. All I can say is WOW! Read this book. If you think you know the stories of Job and Abraham, you don’t. I see the story of Job and Abraham in a new light.
My advice to you is don’t focus on Job’s suffering. Focus on the fact that He had faith, he repented, he forgave and prayed for others during his suffering. We need to be like Job and do these things in times of trouble.
Abraham’s story is proof God can redeem any situation. Remember, Abraham tied his one and only son Issac to an alter and raised a knife preparing to kill and present him as a offering. Issac did not struggle or protest. He trusted his father.
So shouldn’t we trust God too with redeeming us from our nasty situations?
Next up chapter 3, Jacob’s story. The book ends with Nehemiah’s story.
Highly recommend this book.
It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Ring
I leave you with the exceptional Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington performing It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing. I change swing to ring at the start of every Cleveland Indians baseball season. Thank God baseball is JUST a game and NOT life or death.
Now go out there this weekend and next week and find a way to win despite the obstacles in your life. Remember, don’t compare your life to someone else’s life. We are all unique individuals and what winning looks like in our lives will be different.
Also, God’s got this because –
…God is incapable of messing up your life.
Avril Vandermerwe Bible Stories For Big People pg 35
Author’s Note: I had plenty of snarky, sarcastic comments about the Indians season but decided I would be a good girl and delete them.
It’s time for another exciting and down right thrilling life update. 😉
This summer was like any other summer with me getting up and going to work every day. No exciting vacation as travel plans are not in my budget.
A cousin from Texas visited for a few days. It was great to see him as it had been several years since his last visit.
The most exciting and blessed event was my youngest niece giving birth to a healthy and happy baby boy.
The second most exciting thing was my neighbor releasing his first album on Spotify – Mango Man and The Funketeers. If you like jazz you will love this album. They are just beginning to make their mark on the music world.
At work, I was chosen for a special logistics project and won serveral Amazon gift cards due to attendance and performance. One of the items I bought was a telescope.
Even Rommie is having fun learning how to use it and find objects in the sky. It also came with an attachment so I can take pictures with my phone. Once I get the hang of it I will share pictures with you.
Speaking of winning, I also won $127 dollars in free jewelry as a mystery hostess at a jewelry party. This jewelry junkie almost passed out from sheer joy.
A good time was had by all in my small group. Work interfered with me attending the third meeting and a pulled knee muscle prevented me from attending this month’s meeting.
Did I experience God this summer – yes. He showed up at work one day and the 5 or 6 of us that were working functioned so well as a team handling a situation none of us ever dealt with before – and never want to deal with again.
It was so stressful and the adrenaline pumping so hard and fast that I decided I was not fit enough to drive somewhere and eat a hearty meal – so I ordered pizza. Yes, I know it is called emotional eating and in that situation I had zero guilt and zero regrets.
If I could tell you what happened, you would understand.
I’ve read Max’s book Anxious For Nothing; Finding Calm in a Chaotic World and enjoyed it. Therefore, I am confident Happiness Happens will be a good read as well. A review will be posted as soon as I finish the book. I will also update you after I complete the one week Happiness Challenge.
In addition to the review of Happiness Happens, there will be posts at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
There may be a couple extra posts if I have a thought or adventure to share.
Ending on a Patriotic Note
I leave you with a video of Ray Charles singing America The Beautiful from game 2 of the 2001 World Series.