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