Sunday, 8 April 2018


Time: Make it Count!


How is it possible that it has been 6 ½ weeks since I last posted? Seriously. Where does the time go? In one moment I think, “I can’t wait for Spring!” Then all of a sudden, I realize that it is April. How did that happen?!

Isn't it ironic, that as children, we cannot wait to grow up; but then when we reach a certain age, we wish we were younger? Or maybe it is just one period of time in our lives that we wish we could go back to; a very joyful time filled with happy memories; special moments spent with someone who may no longer be with us.

Unfortunately, time doesn’t work that way. Although it may make a great story-line, unlike science fiction novels, movies or television shows, we cannot actually go through a portal to travel back in time, or forward into the future. Time travel is only for characters like Dr. Who, Doc and Marty McFly.

One of my favourite authors is Mitch Albom. I find his books to be very inspirational, as his stories address heart-felt morals, values and beliefs that I also hold dear. Each main story typically contains other story lines, which are interlinked together. They are written in such a deep and meaningful way. He is probably best known for his best-selling memoir, Tuesdays with Morrie (one of my favourites); but another one of my favourites is, The Time Keeper.

Without giving away too much of the story-line, The Time Keeper is a fictional story about an inventor of the world’s first clock, who is banished to a cave for trying the measure time. He learns and teaches others about the meaning of time, based on his experiences and encounters within the book. A few powerful and thought-provoking lines in this book by Albom include:

“We all yearn for what we have lost. But sometimes, we forget what we have.” 

“When you are measuring life, you are not living it.” 

“…man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.” 

(Check out Mitch Albom's website for more information on his books, events, etc.)

Each day is precious, and a gift from God. Use it wisely. Not everyone gets another tomorrow: so seize the opportunities He gives us today. Don’t waste time worrying about tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year; because very soon, tomorrow will be today in the past tense. Tomorrow will become yesterday. We can’t get it back. It becomes our history and then, nothing more than a memory; so make it count!

"Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure
Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.
But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you." 
                                              Psalm 39:4-7 (NIV)

Let’s face it…Life is harder some days more than other days. It may seem sometimes, as though time is standing still, and not moving at all. We may feel “stuck” in a hard circumstance that never seems to change with the passing of time. It is, therefore, so important to encourage one another each day (Hebrews 3:13), and to know that our hope for today and tomorrow, is in the Lord. Before we know it, that difficult life event will be nothing more than a memory. I am reminded in the Book of James, how the brevity of life on this earth is explained:

“…you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” 
                                                James 4:14 (NIV)

The passing of time was also addressed in the Psalms by David, when he wrote:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? …Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
                                                         Matthew 6: 25-27, 34

American Goldfinch

American Robin

Live your life to the fullest and without regret! Dance in the rain. Use the good china. Tell those you care about, that you love them. Forgive. Don’t hold grudges. Use the gifts, talents, and intellect that God gave you. Spread His love and good news in a world that desperately needs it.

Don't just exist. Live your life, before you run out of time. 
Let’s not count time…Let’s make our time count.

God Bless!

Joyful Hope
(Matthew 5:16)


© 2018 JOYFUL HOPE
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Hello Again!

Summer came and went, as did autumn; and now we are in the middle of winter. How did this time seem to pass so quickly?

I have had a few questions as to why I have not posted on my blog for so long. Have I been busy, some wondered? Yes. Have I been unwell? Flu season certainly hit my family hard for two months. Am I still joyful? Absolutely! Inner joy is not based on circumstances.

The thing about writing (for me, at least), is that I like to feel compelled to write something meaningful; something thought provoking; inspiring. And when it's Spirit led (which it often is)…even better!

I’ve also been writing a book/memoir of sorts, about a traumatic event that happened to me nine years ago, at the hands of a trusted professional in a position of power, and how those that were in the position to help, did not. My prayer is that God will use my experience, or “story” as we may call it, to bring hope to others; for it is only by the grace of God, and His merciful love, that I am alive and able to share it; shining His light where there may be darkness.

Like many people, my seasons have been full of ups and downs; each of which has had an impact on my writing, as well. I’ve had many blog postings drafted, but later decided against posting them, feeling as though the timing was not right.

I lost a very close and dear friend to cancer this summer. A friend who was more of a sister than a friend, as we had been close since birth, and spent many summers and holidays together under the same roof. We laughed together and cried together; and shared secrets like only sisters do. If I feel such loss, I can only imagine the depth of loss her biological siblings feel. May we all find hope, peace and comfort in knowing that she is now with God, and suffers no more.
  
On the positive side, my husband and I took a trip to Canada’s majestic Rocky Mountains this summer. This was a celebration of our landmark wedding anniversary, a celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, and a celebration of improved health following surgery (due to the traumatic event previously mentioned), that I had never expected to be so blessed with. It was an amazing week of sharing our love of nature, each other, and experiencing God’s love and replenishing. The unimaginable splendor and majesty, power and glory of God, just made me want to praise Him more. 

While in Alberta, we had the absolute joy and pleasure to visit with many family members at a get-together hosted by my cousin. We shared a delicious meal and had great conversations. I got to visit cousins I hadn’t seen for over 40 years, and many second and third cousins that I had never met! It is so great how God orchestrated all of this!

God said it was time for the matriarch of this family to leave this world in November. She was the last of my father’s siblings, and much loved by all. She left her legacy with her children; who like her, show love and acceptance to all, and live life to the fullest. I am blessed by God, to have been given her as my aunt: A beautiful woman, with a beautiful heart.

On Canada’s east coast, we had the joy of experiencing some of the beautiful coastline of Nova Scotia’s south shore, while in Halifax celebrating the Tall Ships Regatta in the summer. There are few words that adequately describe our visit to Peggy’s Cove. Let’s just say, God was very much there. He was there along the large rocks which held the famous lighthouse. He was there in the depths of the ocean water. He was there in the crashing waves, in the wind, and in the smell of salt water and seaweed. He was so present with us.  

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
   let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
   and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
   the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
   and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
   and his hands formed the dry land.
Psalm 95:1-5 (NIV)
I have included a few photos I took of this great country of mine. Experiencing so much of it, from east to west, and from the ocean to the mountain tops, caused me to love and praise the Creator like never before. May you look at them in awe, marvelling at God’s majesty. May you get a sense of His awesome presence wherever you are. May you know that the Creator of the heavens and earth sees you, hears you, and loves you deeply.

View of Banff, Alberta, from high above on Sulphur Mountain


Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Waterfowl Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Bow Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield, Alberta, Canada
Lighthouse at a distance at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
Lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
Coastline at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada

God Bless!

Joyful Hope

(Matthew 5:16)



© 2018 JOYFUL HOPE
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Sunday, 4 June 2017

Emotions


Have you ever had one of those weeks? I'm sure you have. You know, the kind of week that leaves you feeling exhausted emotionally; trampled. We may have felt physically exhausted from time to time, but emotional exhaustion is quite different; and it can also affect us physically. 

There are so many emotions that can overwhelm us, if we let them. Maybe we feel angry because of the injustice and cruelty in the world; sadness because of suffering and loss; fear of the unknown; shame because of bad decisions or mistakes made; heartbreak because of dishonesty or deception. All of these emotions are part of what makes us real human beings that have feelings, living daily in an imperfect world; not emotionless robots, simply going through the motions of day to day activities. And, although difficult to experience, I believe these emotions God has equipped us with, serve a greater purpose in making us wiser, stronger and more courageous individuals who, like plants in a garden, continue to grow.
Gerbera Daisies
As Gandhi said, "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him...."  It starts, one person at a time.

If we prayerfully allow them, these negative emotions, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, can help us seek more of the things we would like to see in the world: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control".  (Galatians 5:22-23) These are the fruit of the Spirit; and I am thankful that God, in His loving faithfulness towards us, is always pursuing the cultivation and growth of this fruit within us. 

God Bless!

Joyful Hope

(Matthew 5:16)

© 2017 JOYFUL HOPE  
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Spring Flowers

I love Spring, and I love flowers!

When I think of Spring, I think of rebirth. It is a time of hope. 

The daylight hours get longer, the birds return and sing joyfully, the air smells of fragrant blossoms and freshly cut grass, and the earth is bursting with life. My senses are working overtime, and I’m loving every minute of it (despite my itchy, watery eyes)! I am filled with joy, for all God has provided. Spring reminds me of new beginnings: a fresh start. I want to savour every second of it, because after our long Canadian winter, Spring is such a welcomed change. 

I think perhaps I love and appreciate Spring more, after going through a cold blustery Winter. Likewise, I enjoy Autumn more, after going through a hot humid Summer, and so on. I love the changing seasons!

Change is a good thing. Embrace it. Without it, imagine what we’d be missing. Think about all you’ve learned and experienced that would not have been possible, without change. True, not all change is pleasant, needed, nor easy. And yes, with change there are sometimes negative outcomes or consequences. But when we look back over our lives, would we really want to give up all the joy, just to avoid the potential (or inevitable) negatives.

I’ve shared a few of my favourite early blossoms from my garden with you in earlier posts, but I will share many more in this one. Enjoy the beauty of Spring in God’s creations. I pray it brings a smile to your face, and joy to your heart.

🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

The tulip is one of my favourite spring flowers; definitely my favourite coming from a bulb! It has long been considered a flower of love and charity, and is often used to symbolize such depth as the brevity of life, paradise on earth, heaven and eternal life.
Light Pink Tulip

Medium Pink Tulip

Deep Pink Tulip

Red tulips opening wide for the sunshine

White Tulip

The Bleeding Heart is a flower of love and compassion. I love it's heart-shaped blossoms: A reminder  perhaps, of what's most important. I shared my red, “Valentine”, bleeding heart in an earlier post, but I also have this white, “Alba”, which is just barely beginning to bloom, as well as an old-time favourite, pink variety.
White Bleeding Heart

Pink Bleeding Heart
The Purple Violet, often considered a weed, is the floral emblem of the province of New Brunswick, Canada. It is a welcomed sight to me in May. Their happy little "faces" and heart-shaped leaves, make me smile, and I have been the recipient of bouquets of these from little hands, with big hearts, more times than I can remember. They are apparently an edible plant, but I've never tried to eat them, as I prefer to look at them.
Purple Violets

This Serviceberry tree is covered in beauty; but only for a short time. As quickly as these small white blossoms appear, they disappear with the wind within a week. My feathered friends love this tree, and love it even more when it is covered in berries…A change that occurs a little later in the season.

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) NLT


God Bless!

Joyful Hope

(Matthew 5:16)

© 2017 JOYFUL HOPE  

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

I have been blessed to have had many “mothers” in my life. Some have passed away, which creates a deep sense of sadness and loss within me. Yet, at the same time, I feel such thankfulness for having them in my life, and for the impact they had on me. I seriously do not know what I would have done without them. By their example, I strive to be like the honourable women that they were; thus having a positive impact on generations after me.  

At the same time, I am blessed to be a mother, and this brings me great joy. This is an honour and responsibility that I take very seriously. When I think about the gift of motherhood that God has entrusted upon me, I feel so overwhelmingly unworthy and loved.

You may be a mother to your own biological children, adoptive children, or step-children. You may be a “mother” to others who have lost their mother, do not have a close relationship with their mother, or you simply possess those mothering qualities that makes everyone around you feel loved and cared for. You may be a pet mother, and love your pets or those you care for, with the deep loving characteristics only a mother could have. You may even be a Dad, who is also the “mother”, in the absence of one.

I know Mother’s Day can be a very depressing day for some people. You may have lost your mother or you are unable to have children. Perhaps you have lost a child, or maybe you have a mother, but she’s never been like a “mother” to you. Perhaps you feel rejected or unloved by your child.

Friends, I know Mother’s Day can be a sad time; but it is just a day, that by itself, does not define who you are. You are loved and accepted by the Lord; the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Take time if you’re able, to celebrate the “mothers” you love, appreciate, and look up to. And if there is no one that fits this description in your life, perhaps YOU could be that “mother” in someone else’s life who needs to feel loved and accepted, as we all want to feel.

So I say, “Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! This is a day we celebrate YOU; for who you are, and for all that you do!


Red Bleeding Heart, currently blooming in my garden.

God Bless!

Joyful Hope

(Matthew 5:16) 




© 2017 JOYFUL HOPE  


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Inspiring & Motivational Music: Mandisa

As mentioned in my first blog post, music often encourages and inspires me, bringing me joy; and there are many, many musicians that I love from various genres. Because of their fame, they have huge audiences, and the use of their popularity can be used to inspire and motivate others. One of the many musicians whose voice I find amazing, and for whom I have respected for her fearless faith in Christ and love for others, is Mandisa. 

Now before I go any further, I must say that I do not personally know her, nor have I seen her in concert (although I’d love too!). We live in different countries. I have no connection or affiliation with her management or staff, and I have received no personal gain from posting these comments, nor do I expect to; but I must give credit where credit is due. (Other musicians, authors, etc., also inspire me. They will be mentioned in future blog posts.)  

I first took notice of Mandisa many years ago, when a judge on a talent reality show insulted her publicly; not on her talent, but on her appearance. It was rude, unkind and disrespectful, and those of us watching hurt for her. She later courageously and lovingly, forgave him publicly. This was a bold testament of who she is, as a child of God. This immediately caught my attention, as well as many others around the world. This gal is the real deal, I thought to myself! Genuine. Could I have been that gracious, I wondered.

Since then, I've watched how she's been using the gifts God has given her through music, touching lives around the world. God has truly blessed her for her trust and faith in Him.

Many of her songs validate, inspire, encourage, and bring hope to the discouraged and hurting. Their upbeat rhythm make them dance-able and fun. You can sense her joy as she sings about our Lord. I love that! More than once, I have had her song "Good Morning" blaring from the car stereo, as I travel down the road. Love this woman! She just makes me want to praise God! Many of her recent Facebook Live videos also make me smile with joy.

I've often been known to be the "encourager", but sometimes encouragers need encouraging tooMandisa’s songs “Stronger” and “Overcomer” lifted my spirit and strengthened me when I needed it most. While struggling with God’s nudging to write, one of Mandisa’s recent releases, “Unfinished”, would often play on the radio. The lyrics to this song, as well as the story behind the song, speaks to me.

~Check out these videos, and all things “Mandisa” at this link.

You see, this blog of mine is a "God thing", as I like to call it. It is from my heart, as I feel led and inspired. It is out of my comfort zone. But, God does that sometimes. He takes us out of our comfort zone so He can continue to work on us. No matter how useless, unqualified or unequipped we may feel, I believe that as long as we have breath, God's not finished with us. The question is, will we allow Him to complete what is unfinished?  (Hebrews 13:20-21; Philippians 1:6)

I am so thankful that Mandisa did not allow the hurt of that public insult discourage her from using the gifts God has given her, to glorify Him and bring this joyful light to others.

Everyone has a story. Maybe yours can inspire and encourage someone. If you are reading this, you too, are unfinished. 

Thanks to Mandisa for inspiring me to write this post, without even knowing it. I’m thankful for her example of courage and faithfulness.


God Bless!

Joyful Hope

(Matthew 5:16) 




© 2017 JOYFUL HOPE  

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Spring

Although the Spring season officially arrived in my part of the world 1  1/2 months ago, only within the past few weeks has it actually started to look like Spring outside. I love this time of the year; especially the month of May, when everything comes alive. The earth awakens from hibernation, and new life is resurrected and emerges from the cold, dark, damp ground. I can almost feel the excitement of each little plant, as it gets strength and energy from the warm sun. And once it begins to sprout up, there is no stopping it!🌱 It seems to get more courageous and strong each day. It's confidence in reaching its fullest potential increases exponentially! With fresh compost added to nourish its roots, and those nasty weeds pulled out regularly, that once tiny sprout, becomes a thing of beauty. 🌼 I think of our lives to be somewhat like this. 

We can be awakened from the deep sleep of .... (you fill in the space). Feelings of defeat or failure, inferiority, complacency, etc.? A new life can be resurrected from the cold, dark place that we find ourselves. God's love strengthens and energizes us, if we let His light shine upon us and within us. And once we begin to "sprout up", there is no stopping us! He gives us courage, strength and confidence to face each day. He wants us to reach our fullest potential, which is greater than even we can imagine (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Feeding on His Word and His love, our roots get stronger. The "nasty weeds" in our life (those feelings of doubt, fear, etc.) become fewer. We eventually remember that we are a beautiful creation, wonderfully made in His imagine (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 139:14), and it is very good! (Genesis 1:31) 

Did I mention that I love gardening? 😊 Here are a few of my newly resurrected plants. Watching them grow is so exciting! Helping them grow, is a thrill!


Crocus
  
Daffodil

Forsythia

Muscari

God Bless!

Joyful Hope

(Matthew 5:16) 




© 2017 JOYFUL HOPE  

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED