Saturday, October 31, 2015

I Am Not a Just a Statistic

"Keep going! KEEEEP going!"

These were my cardiologist's parting words today.

"You DID it!" he said, encouragingly. "I've only had one other patient who did what you're doing. You and one other person out of 5,000 have managed to change their lives and get off all their meds. KEEP going!"

I realized in that office that not all doctors want to keep distributing meds and keep you coming back. Some doctors--and my guess is really that most doctors--truly desire to see their patients turn their lives around and get healthy. 

His words encouraged me and made me realize this:

I am not just a statistic. I am a person who has made a significant change, and that change has led to incredible joy.

If you told me two months ago that I would be on my way to being medication free and in the best shape I've ever been, I would have looked at you from my armchair and said, "Okay, what's the catch?"

The catch was that I had to turn my life around. I had to give up a lot of things I liked, and I had to increase the thing I thought I was allergic to---exercise. I had to deny my flesh, learn to crave Jesus instead of food, discipline myself instead of overthinking what I didn't "feel like" doing, and work really hard at achieving my goals. And I never want to go back.

If you told me two months ago that I'd be running a 5K, I'd have said, "No. That's not possible because I absolutely detest running." Yet, that's where I'll be in three weeks.

Today, after I left the doctor's office with instructions on how to cut back and eventually eliminate the blood pressure and cholesterol medications, and to keep doing what I've been doing, all I wanted to do was run.

Yesterday I finally tried that new route I mentioned on Sunday, and I hit the 3.1 miles I have been working toward (3.1 miles=5K). I was exhilarated! Today, since I had such good results, I ran the same route. 

Around mile 1.5, a song came on and if I wasn't running, I might have fallen to my knees in worship. I've heard it before-after all, it's on my playlist. But for some reason, I was overcome with a sense of gratitude and overwhelming joy. 

The song is called, Here in Your Presence by New Life Worship.

I thought, "How can running possibly be a worship experience?"

I tried to remember how much I hate running, but I was loving it! I was so caught up in the presence of my Savior, that I could barely contain my emotions. I wanted to weep with gratitude, and lift my face to the sky (but it made it hard to breathe while running). I'd taken my earbud out (I only use one so I can hear traffic and bad guys sneaking up on me) and had my phone in my sweatshirt pocket. The music flowed, and my hands, being free from holding the phone, wanted to praise God. He is so good.

But alas, I'm still self-conscious about what I might look like to those peering out their windows (as if). Instead, I found myself simply letting my arms fall to my sides and holding out my palms. I tried to close my eyes, but running on a road with your eyes closed is almost as bad as running with scissors.

I ran like this for awhile, while the song continued. I truly felt caught up in the heavens, especially with words like, Here in Your presence we are undone; here in Your presence heaven and earth become one. I have never before had a worship experience quite like this while running. But how could you not when your route looks like this?



I passed a young teenage boy trying a new move on his skateboard. He kept trying and failing. But he kept trying. As I passed by, I heard my doctor's words to keep going. I did it. And so can he!

"Keep at it!" I told the boy. "You'll get it!"

"Yeah," he muttered with a nervous chuckle. Who was this odd woman who closed her eyes while she ran, held out her palms and played Jesus music from her pocket?

She is a woman who has been transformed in more ways than one. Through the power of God and through hard work and determination. 

She is a woman filled with intense and immense joy.

She is more than a statistic.

And so are you.

I hope you've enjoyed my series on joy. It is my prayer that something you read this month touched your heart and spurred you on to intentionally choosing joy.

And just for fun---here's a picture I took on that run of a REALLY big camp chair---I think it was made for a giant. I've never seen a camp chair this big.



It's hard to tell just how big it is without a person in it--just take a look at the storm sewer behind it, or the cup holder and imagine a can of soda in it. Is it a chair or a basketball net?

Thank you for accompanying me on my joyful journey. I hope and pray that you continue choosing and spreading joy wherever God plants you!

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

By the way, I also met the challenge of writing and posting every day this month!

To see how far I've actually come from my first day of running, you can read my article/essay in the Women's Running online magazine.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Party at Sunset With Joy & Friends

Do you remember Joy and all her friends personified?

I got a little sidetracked, but I still found friends of Joy along the way. Let's go to the path now and see what they're up to.

There is a party tonight at sunset. 

Joy takes the hand of Gratitude as they skip and twirl and dance down the sandy path toward the sea. Not far off, the breakers crash against the shore. It sounds like a roar and a whisper all at the same time. Joy looks at Gratitude and they share a laugh. There is an unspoken understanding between them, as if they already know what to expect at the shore. Perhaps it's because they do. They've been here before. In fact, they come at the end of each day, whether the vibrant sun beckons them, or the day is heavy with rain. They come because they look forward to meeting the Travelers.

Some are weary. Some are confused. Some are tired. All are expectant, thirsty, and full of anticipation for what is next. Some--those who can keep up with her--come with Joy. Some come with Sadness. Still others come with Kindness or Goodness or Mercy. 

Often Travelers are already on the beach, sitting in quiet solitude or deep thought. They sit with Patience and Peace, stoking the flames in the fire that will be their source of light once the sun retreats. They speak in hushed tones and nod their heads frequently in agreement.

Kindness, Compassion, Giving, Receiving, Empathy, Encouragement and so many more Friends are reunited daily at the shore, by the fire and at sunset. Every night they convene to watch the sun slip behind the ocean as the moon rises to its glory.

The Friends are the same each night. So is the fire, the shore and the sunset. The difference is in the Travelers. Each night, each Traveler witnesses an excitement among the Friends as if it is the first time they've seen one another in years. 

The Travelers watch this reunion and begin to desire more of what the Friends embody. Their hunger for more excites them, and all the baggage they've brought with them seems to disappear as their paths, their destinies become clear.

As the sun makes its final descent for the day, and the moon appears, a brilliant Light flashes across the dusky sky and lights up the beach as if it were the brightest part of the day. The Travelers are mesmerized as they watch their friends fade into this Light. 

This Brilliant Light suddenly engulfs the fire on the beach and an explosive display of color, unmatched by the greatest earthly display of fireworks ensues. Sparks leap from the fiery display and land on the heads of each Traveler present. They fall to the sandy beach in reverence and awe as they see a man walking among the flames and color.

Every Traveler both wonders who this is and instinctively knows Who this is.

His name is I AM.

He is, and was, and is to come. He is the Light of the world. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the Lamb of God. He is the Savior, the Redeemer, the Son of God---Emmanuel. God with us.

The Friends have faded into their Maker and their Maker has distributed them to the Travelers. 

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations," says I AM from within the Brilliance, "baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And  surely I am with you to the very end of the age."

The Travelers will never be the same.

And so, my friends, neither am I since I have met I AM.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare


LAST DAY FOR A CHANCE TO WIN!!!
Don't forget that I'm giving away free books! THREE winners can choose a book from my list (click here to access). All you have to do is comment-on here, by email or on Facebook! I'll keep the giveaway open till the end of the month.

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind (Joyce Meyer)

Audacious (Beth Moore)

Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life (Joyce Meyer)

Planted: Sit, Stand, and Walk With Jesus--a 10-week Bible study (Annie Pajcic)--This is the Bible study I'm currently doing that I've referred to several times in this series.

Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (Robert McGee)--This book changed my life many years ago.

God is Able (Priscilla Shirer)

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Empathy for Those Who Cannot Find Joy

Have you ever been around a really happy person when you're just not feeling happy? It can be really annoying.



Yesterday I talked about this brilliant movie called Inside Out. There is this adorable little blue character called Sadness, and she walks around in a constant state of gloom. Her voice is soft and a bit Eeyore-ish. Meanwhile, Joy (Amy Poehler--so you can just imagine) is always up, always bubbly, always cheerful. She tries to steer Sadness away from...well, sadness.

There are times in the movie that Joy is actually irritating with her cheerfulness. I wanted to say, "Just let her be, Joy!"

Joy is contagious. But not always. There are, of course, the chronic complainers who just don't want to change. However, sometimes circumstances and events lead to a deep and lingering sadness or depression. Health problems, loss of loved ones, and financial strain are just some of the reasons people cannot find joy. Emotional or psychological issues, children lost to drug abuse, or caring for parents with dementia can add to the daily stress of a person's life, making it seem impossible to find joy.

Sometimes and for some folks, intentional joy is elusive. Choosing joy is just too hard.

Extending compassion and empathy for those who cannot find or choose joy is vital if we desire to live a Christ-centered joy-filled life. 

To exude joy is to show compassion, empathy, and understanding to those who are less joyful.

We can't ever expect anyone else to be in the same frame of mind, the same emotional, spiritual, or psychological place that we are, regardless of what that is. To do so would be self-centered and callous. While we want to encourage others to be joy-focused, we need to be understanding when they are not.

Jesus met people where they were. He offered hope. He offered peace. He offered a better life that would lead to joy. He always offered, and never insisted they "snap out of it," or "just choose joy." He understood. He listened. He cared. 

I want to emulate Jesus, don't you?

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sadness: A Surprising Friend of Joy

We all have a past. We've all experienced hardships, trials, and relationships that we'd rather not revisit or even remember. But we didn't endure the hurt, the pain, and the sadness for nothing. 

I think it's necessary to hold on to just a piece of that sadness in order to experience true joy. 

Because how would we know the joy if we didn't know the pain? How would we understand happiness if we didn't know sorrow? How would we experience the love of Christ if we didn't know the pain and sting of rejection?

This summer I went to see a brilliant Pixar movie called Inside Out, where a young girl's core emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust) are personified. Sadness is a constant downer, and Joy works real hard not to let her be in control. Everything she touches seems to freeze or die or break.

When Riley moves to a new city, and things on the outside start affecting her on the inside and life becomes more than she can handle, she ends up shutting down emotionally. The control board in "Headquarters" freezes up. It simply won't work. 

That is, until Sadness touches it. A simple touch of Sadness causes Riley to break down in her father's arms, and she cries and cries and cries. Let me tell you, I felt sort of idiotic sitting in a kid's movie crying over Pixar people! But it was so profound!
Joy discovers that the memories she has of certain events are vastly different from the memories that Sadness has. Sadness remembers the circumstances that led to Riley's being sad; Joy only remembers the moments after that sadness. She doesn't remember the sadness because that's not who she is. But it is what led to the joy.

Together, they discover that Sadness is a necessary part of living. And Joy learns to share moments of Riley's life with Sadness. Life is never complete joy.

If you haven't seen this movie...oh my gosh..rent it! Now! You'll love it (except that I just ruined it by telling you the whole story)!

Meanwhile, remember this:

Sadness is not a "bad" or "wrong" emotion. Sadness is necessary to healing and a prerequisite to Joy!

Joy can only be experienced by knowing the Sadness that preceded it.

If you're dwelling in the land of Sadness right now...take heart. 

Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Song of the Day:  Darrell Evans' Trading My Sorrows


Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

Don't forget that I'm giving away free books! THREE winners can choose a book from my list (click here to access). All you have to do is comment-on here, by email or on Facebook! I'll keep the giveaway open till the end of the month.

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind (Joyce Meyer)

Audacious (Beth Moore)

Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life (Joyce Meyer)

Planted: Sit, Stand, and Walk With Jesus--a 10-week Bible study (Annie Pajcic)--This is the Bible study I'm currently doing that I've referred to several times in this series.

Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (Robert McGee)--This book changed my life many years ago.

God is Able (Priscilla Shirer)

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

This is part of the Write 31

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

the Joy of Receiving

Picture this: 
You're out to lunch with your friend and she picks up the tab. 

Do you 
A.Try to grab the check so you can pay instead?
B. Insist on splitting the bill?
C. Graciously thank her and tell her what a blessing that is?

How about this scenario:

You admire someone's necklace and she takes it off and gives it to you.

Do you
A. Become flustered and say, "Oh, I COULDN'T!"?
B. Laugh nervously and say, "I didn't expect you to really give it to me!" and try to change the subject?
C. Graciously accept it and tell her what a blessing she is?

If you steered clear of "C" in either or both questions, you may have a problem receiving.

Most people find joy in giving. And if Christmas and birthdays are any indication of how much people like to receive, then I'd say that most people enjoy that too.



But those are "expected receiving" occasions. We expect to receive gifts on designated gift days.

But what about those unexpected times? Why do we feel like we don't deserve to be given a gift? If someone deems us worthy, then who are we to argue with them?


Imagine you are on the giving end (which I'm sure you have been many times). You really want to bless someone by giving, and you're met with "Oh, no, I just can't let you do that." Do you feel a little frustrated when you have to insist?

Not receiving something joyfully is insulting to the giver. Yes, I said it is insulting. By refusing a gift, you are telling the giver that they've made a mistake in judging your worth, and you're robbing them of a blessing. Just as you want someone to accept your gift, you need to learn to accept joyfully and graciously. Simply say thank you, and allow the blessings to flow between you both.

Have I mastered this? Well, I don't know. Why don't you offer me something and I'll let you know. Juuuuuust kidding. 

No, I have not mastered it. Sometimes I am uncomfortable when someone wants to give me something, and sometimes I am able to accept it. For me, it depends on the worth--if it's expensive, or if it costs the giver something to give it up, I might feel guilty. I need to work on that. Maybe God is intentionally putting that person in an uncomfortable place by asking them to give that thing up so that He can work on an area of their life. Refusing the gift might hinder the work of God in that person's life.

Giving and Receiving are friends of Joy but they often get sidetracked. They usually don't even make it down to the shore to the sunset. They're too busy blessing everyone along the way. 

If someone wants to give you something today, accept it graciously and then bless them. The blessings flow to both the giver and receiver.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

Don't forget that I'm giving away free books! THREE winners can choose a book from my list (click here to access). All you have to do is comment-on here, by email or on Facebook! I'll keep the giveaway open till the end of the month.

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind (Joyce Meyer)

Audacious (Beth Moore)

Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life (Joyce Meyer)

Planted: Sit, Stand, and Walk With Jesus--a 10-week Bible study (Annie Pajcic)--This is the Bible study I'm currently doing that I've referred to several times in this series.

Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (Robert McGee)--This book changed my life many years ago.

God is Able (Priscilla Shirer)

Thank you for continuing to read, support, and encourage me! I value each and every reader.

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

This is part of the Write 31



Monday, October 26, 2015

There is Joy in Resting

Today I rested. After all, it is the Sabbath.

I woke up so late that I was already late for church. I don't know why I was so tired, but I didn't try to fight it.

I really wanted to go for a Sunday run because I found a street not too far from me that, much to my delight, is flat-ish (not an easy find in my neck of the woods). So I was excited to try a new route. 

But I was soooo tired. And the bottoms of my feet hurt, maybe from running all week. I've been pushing myself, trying to train for this upcoming 5K that I signed up for.

Hubbles has been wanting cider dogs from Hacklebarney Farms Cider Mill all month, so we finally decided to take a trip out there today, and then buy that new lamp I've been wanting. 


Then a quick stop at the grocery store for soup makings for dinner. 

I kept thinking, I'll get that run in later.

But as much as I wanted to in my head, my body just wasn't up to it. I was soooooo tired.

So we came home, put the Sweet Root Soup on to cook (click here for recipe), and took naps.

I gave up on the run. I'm just too tired.

Some days, you just have to give in to rest. Stop pushing yourself so hard. Turn your brain and your body off.

Did you notice that the first two letters in rest are RE? As in re-generate. Re-juvenate. Re-charge. Re-fuel. Re-joice.


There is joy in rest.

I think that Rest is a bit of a loner. She loves her friends, Joy, Gratitude, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Mercy and all the others, but she needs to be alone to best live her life. She can be found in many places, but because she is so quiet and longs for solitude, she is often overlooked, and has to be sought out to be found. 

She prefers the tall grasses, the sandy shores of the ocean, the deep forests, and the gentle mossy banks of a quiet stream. She beckons to the travelers, but they often ignore her, anxious to get to their destination. To spend time with Rest would only slow them down. They are on a journey and it's very important that they get to where they're going as soon as possible,

That's okay. Rest knows that they will need her soon, and when they do, she will be there to meet them, even if it is not in her preferred location. Her desire is to meet the travelers where they are. She longs to bring them to her home, but she knows that only a select few will come.

Still, she waits. And rests, because she knows that she'll be needed soon.

I pray that you will seek and find Rest this week---whether you need to recharge, refuel, or rejoice. Because if you don't, you can be sure that she'll eventually find you.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare


Don't forget that I'm giving away free books! THREE winners can choose a book from my list (click here to access). All you have to do is comment-on here, by email or on Facebook! I'll keep the giveaway open till the end of the month.

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind (Joyce Meyer)

Audacious (Beth Moore)

Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life (Joyce Meyer)

Planted: Sit, Stand, and Walk With Jesus--a 10-week Bible study (Annie Pajcic)--This is the Bible study I'm currently doing that I've referred to several times in this series.

Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (Robert McGee)--This book changed my life many years ago.

God is Able (Priscilla Shirer)

Thank you for continuing to read, support, and encourage me! I value each and every reader.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

This is part of the Write 31


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Goodness and Mercy!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Psalm 23:6)

If you have been following my story of personified Joy, you may remember that Joy and Gratitude skip, dance, laugh their way into the sunset, all the while making friends along the way.

Peace and Patience wait for their friends in the still waters by the moonlight, speaking in hushed tones of deep subjects, suggesting ways to be catalysts to change.

Kindness stops along the way to show the love of Christ to those in need, or simply to those who are just there.


Today we walk briefly with Goodness and Mercy.

These two accompany Kindness, but while Kindness leads, Goodness and Mercy (also known as Love) follow behind. They are always agreeable, always pleasant, and never in a hurry. 

They travel well together because they have similar tastes and personalities. They help keep the new friends of Joy and Gratitude on the path-the right and good moral and ethical path. When the travelers are tempted to stray down beautiful and tempting side paths, Goodness and Mercy gently remind them that this is the way...walk in it (Isaiah 30:21). This is why they choose to walk at the back.



"Trust us," they tell their new friends, who are often anxious to get to the sunset and frequently attempt to take short cuts down paths that lead to dead ends.


"We've walked this path many times. We know where those paths lead, and they will only bring you pain. This path, the one we are all on will bring you to a life fulfilled."

Like Kindness, Goodness is often mistaken for some of her less authentic relatives. The Goods often mask their true motives for doing good things, things also referred to as good deeds or works or the "right" thing.


True Goodness is unique in that she has a built in compass that not only helps travelers find their way, but directs them to the heart of God. This is where they truly find right and good.


Mercy walks alongside Goodness to prevent robbers, like guilt, shame, anger, and unforgiveness from robbing the travelers along the way. 


While Kindness goes ahead, Goodness and Mercy quietly retreat in order to protect.


I hope you've been enjoying my imaginative, yet very real friends! At some point, they will all be in a longer story, one that has been birthed in this Intentional Joy series, and is currently being written. 

Stay tuned the rest of this month to meet more of my friends and to see where they all end up! If you think you know, you may be surprised. Heck, it might even surprise me!

Don't forget that I'm giving away free books! THREE winners can choose a book from my list (click here to access). All you have to do is comment-on here, by email or on Facebook! I'll keep the giveaway open till the end of the month.

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind (Joyce Meyer)

Audacious (Beth Moore)

Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life (Joyce Meyer)

Planted: Sit, Stand, and Walk With Jesus--a 10-week Bible study (Annie Pajcic)--This is the Bible study I'm currently doing that I've referred to several times in this series.

Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (Robert McGee)--This book changed my life many years ago.

God is Able (Priscilla Shirer)

Thank you for continuing to read, support, and encourage me! I value each and every reader.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

This is part of the Write 31






Saturday, October 24, 2015

More Friends of Joy: Kindness

Sometimes I start a post and it takes a whole different direction. 

The last few days have been like that. Somehow, I personified joy and turned it into Joy. Gratitude, Peace, and Patience followed.

What's really exciting is that an entire story is evolving in my head, and I've been furiously writing (well, as time allows). There is so much in my head and I want to get it all out before I forget!

At any rate, I thought that I'd keep going with this personification of traits thing, so I'd like to introduce you today to Kindness.



Kindness has one of those common names. Everywhere she goes, people say, "Oh, I've met you before," or "I know you." 

Kindness, of course, being kind in nature, smiles genuinely--not at all in a condescending way--and says, "I have many relatives, so I'm not sure if the one you met before was me."

She explains:

There are a lot of people who are kind. And a lot of reasons behind their being kind. Some are kind for personal gain. Some are kind out of a sense of guilt or feelings that if they're kind, they'll restore relationship.

Then there are those who are kind for the sake of being kind. Because they truly care. Because that's just the way they are. Whatever the reasons, when kindness is spread, people are changed. Acts of kindness make people feel good-on the receiving AND the giving end.

But I am the Kindness that comes from God. It's hard to explain. There is no word in your English language to adequately describe me. The best way I can describe who I am is to tell you that that I meet real needs in God's way and in His timing. I am useful, usable, and serviceable.

I know that might sound a bit sterile, but it's really not. Think of that single mother you know who is struggling to make ends meet. She works two jobs and then her daughter gets sick and she misses a week of work. She doesn't get paid for that missed work, and because of that, she doesn't have enough to pay her rent that month.

Kindness sees that need. While prayer for this tired mom is needed, what is useful, useable, and serviceable is you and others like you buying her groceries, delivering them to her door, cleaning her house, and handing her an envelope with just the right amount of money needed to pay the rent.

That's the difference between just being kind and me--the fruit of God's spirit--Kindness.

While Joy and Gratitude are skipping, dancing, and laughing into the sunset, and Peace and Patience are quietly waiting for their friends at the still water by the sunset, Kindness, accompanied by Goodness (you'll meet her tomorrow) walks quietly, slowly, and purposefully toward the horizon. She is always looking, always searching, always aware of the needs around her.

Reference: Strong's --the word kindness comes from a root chrestos (sounds like Christ, right?)

HEY YOU! 

(Sorry, that's how we get someone's attention in New Jersey)

Don't forget that I'm giving away free books! THREE winners can choose a book from my list (click here to access). All you have to do is comment! I'll keep the giveaway open till the end of the month.

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind (Joyce Meyer)

Audacious (Beth Moore)

Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life (Joyce Meyer)

Planted: Sit, Stand, and Walk With Jesus--a 10-week Bible study (Annie Pajcic)--This is the Bible study I'm currently doing that I've referred to several times in this series.

Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (Robert McGee)--This book changed my life many years ago.

God is Able (Priscilla Shirer)

Thank you for continuing to read, support, and encourage me! I value each and every reader.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

This is part of the Write 31



Friday, October 23, 2015

Friends of Joy

There is nothing that encourages me more than when a reader tells me how something I wrote in a post brought encouragement.

This morning I got an email from a reader, who is also a dear friend. Grace shared this with me:

Your "Choosing Joy" series spilled over into my life into a "Choosing Peace" moment...

She had to go to the dentist for several issues and was feeling tremendous anxiety. 

I was getting almost sick over it. But I said, "If I can choose joy, I can choose peace," and let go of all the anxiety. I rejoiced in the Lord and just had such a feeling of relief!

That made my morning! You go, girl!



And it also got me thinking that while Gratitude and Joy go hand in hand (laughing and dancing into the sunset, if you'll remember from yesterday), their friendship is contagious. Others simply want to be with them.

I think Peace waits by the quiet waters where the sun is setting. Patience is with her. They sit quietly, speaking in hushed tones of deep subjects and how to be catalysts to change. They wait for those silly and buoyant--yet lovable friends of theirs to come to the sunset. They know that their friends have many stops along the way--people to cheer up and encourage, random courteous, kind, and compassionate tasks to perform. 

Peace and Patience are expecting Joy and Gratitude, but they smile knowingly at each other, realizing that by the time their friends reach the shore, there will no longer be solitude. It also may be after sunset. They will have new friends with them, and most likely, those friends will be different ones than the ones from the night before. That's just the personalities of Joy and Gratitude. Everyone just wants to be with them, and all are welcome! Their presence brings light into the dusky dark of the evening.

What a wonderful picture.

And what a wonderful picture my friend Grace painted for me:

If I can choose joy, then I can choose peace. 

What about you? What area of your life has joy spilled over into? What "friend" of Joy and Gratitude will you bring to the sunset tonight?

Thanks, Grace for that wonderful reminder and encouragement for all of us!

Reader Giveaway!

All you have to do is post a comment or respond to your emailed post and tell me which book from the list below that you'd like, or post a comment in response to my question above. I will choose THREE winners (at random)! 

Since only ONE person responded to my original giveaway post (why wouldn't you want to win???), I'm giving it another try. Please comment---I really want to bless three people!

Three winners will receive a book from amazon.com of your choice from the following list (click on the link for more information):

Fight Back With Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)

Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind (Joyce Meyer)

Audacious (Beth Moore)

Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life (Joyce Meyer)

Planted: Sit, Stand, and Walk With Jesus--a 10-week Bible study (Annie Pajcic)--This is the Bible study I'm currently doing that I've referred to several times in this series.

Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes (Robert McGee)--This book changed my life many years ago.

God is Able (Priscilla Shirer)

Thank you for continuing to read, support, and encourage me! I value each and every reader.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

sharing this blog with some of these lovely bloggers and with Write 31 Days

This is part of the Write 31