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

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Stories: If I only knew then, what I know now!

Over 300 views of my first blog posting in two days! WOW! Canada, USA, Costa Rica, Ireland, Cuba and Israel: I’m so pleased you stopped by, and I hope you return!  Isn’t social media amazing? On its own, it is neither good, nor bad; but how one chooses to use it, is a different story. It’s like most things: it can be used to do good works, or exploited to do harm.

My goal is to encourage, inspire and bring hope. Also, if you haven’t already discovered on your own, I am a follower of Jesus Christ, so there will be many references to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If any of that creates negative feelings or disinterests you, you’ve come to the wrong place. If it interests you, and perhaps you know others that would also be interested, please share. I want people to experience the same joy deep inside their soul, despite their circumstances, that I so willingly want to share. It is possible! If that perks your interest, I hope you return.

Since I’m new at this and haven’t yet decided which day of the week I will post regularly, you may want to follow this blog, so you will get a notification of each new blog posting; otherwise, I suppose you could just keep checking back regularly; whatever is most convenient for you. I’m going to try to post weekly, but depending on what’s happening in my life, it may be slightly more, or slightly less often. Just sayin’: Life happens.

In the Holy Bible, we read where Jesus taught using parables in the Gospels. Now although these short stories were fictitious, they were used to teach and illustrate a lesson to be learned. Each of our lives are full of experiences, and although we may not realise it at the time, those experiences are learning moments; teachable moments in our lives that help to shape how we deal with future experiences. It can help others as well; BUT, not if we keep these great learnings to ourselves. How many times have you said or have heard others say, “If I only knew then, what I know now….” I’ve said it many times.

I am so inspired by those who have faced major challenges, obstacles and adversity, many of which seemed insurmountable at the time. Yet, they overcame them; not on their own I would suggest; but through God’s intervention. Their stories help build our own courage, and often encourage us not to give up hope for brighter days ahead. Some of these people can become your best cheerleaders, during times when we need it most.  I know that’s been true for me. They know from experience; and experience, not education, leads to wisdom. Sure, the “brighter days” ahead may not be exactly as we had planned it. In fact, it may look nothing like anything we ever imagined. And undoubtedly, it never comes as quickly as we would like.

Perhaps, I suggest to you, these are just a few of the life lessons we are being taught: faith, gratitude and patience. More on this in the coming days and weeks.

God Bless!

Joyful Hope

(Matthew 5:16)


© 2017 JOYFUL HOPE  
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Welcome to my blog! 

Welcome to my blog! It has taken me quite awhile to get it started, but with prayer, and the help and encouragement of friends and family, it is finally a reality. I'm sure I'll need some "how to" tips from a few of my blogger friends along the way and of course, we all need some encouragement from time to time.

Let me introduce myself, and the reason for this blog. My name is Peggy, but because this blog is all about spreading joy to cultivate hope, I thought it would be much more pleasant to receive a reply to an email from "Joyful Hope" (which is what I will go by on this blog). Having "Joyful Hope" in your inbox is just so cheerful, don't you think? Who wouldn't want a dose of Joyful Hope in their inbox?

Why this blog?

Well, unless we live in a protected bubble with little contact with the world around us, as we look around it seems much easier to see, hear and read about evil and badness everywhere, than it is to see the love and joy that is also around us everywhere. Somehow we've allowed the darkness to cover the light. Discouragement and hopelessness seems more common than it should be. We've all been a victim to it to some degree, and we can even begin to reflect the negativity that surrounds us.

I believe that spreading a little joy can help cultivate hope...Not just in others, but in ourselves as well.

Why me? Sure, I could list credentials; but the truth is, I'm no expert; and really, who is a true expert at life? None of us. We learn as we go. I personally feel most interested and inspired by those who have first-hand experience in particular situations. After going through a season which involved much physical and emotional pain, multiple losses and an endless supply of discouragement, it became even more apparent to me than before, that God never wastes a bad experience. We learn from them, grow from them, and praise God, He draws closer to us during these times when our faith is tested most. When we trust in Him, He will provide hope when things appear hopeless. He is the light in the darkness. "...in Him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)

Here are a few areas He provides opportunities for me to feel joy (placed in no particular order):

  1. Music (both lyrics & melodies). It can lift me up and encourage me. I will share some of my favourites in later posts. 
  2. Motivational and inspirational words, phrases, poems and stories can resonate within me, instilling hope and courage. Every time I read the Bible for example, something new is revealed to me. I have many favourite authors.
  3. People. God has placed people in my life for both a season and a reason. I am so thankful for some whom I feel have been my personal angels, sent from above. Others, some of whom I've never met personally, have inspired me through the sharing of their first-hand experiences of overcoming adversity, showing courage and perseverance; while remaining hopeful and faithful. Others have touched my heart through their expression of love, generosity, courage and integrity.
  4. I happen to be an avid gardener and lover of nature. I get giddy when opportunities to capture the perfect wildlife photo or breath-taking, awe-inspiring scenery, presents itself. I feel great joy in these experiences, so expect photos.
So through my posts and interactions on this blog, my prayer is that God will bless this venue, that He will be glorified, that His light will shine wherever there is darkness, and by spreading joy, hope will be cultivated.

God Bless!

Joyful Hope

(Matthew 5:16)

© 2017 JOYFUL HOPE  
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED