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  

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. " 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