Summer’s here!

summer
summer
Image source: Google

Today is the first day of summer (you can get great summer deals today, including a free small blizzard at Dairy Queen), when it’s the longest day of the year in the U.S. and the shortest day of the year for people in Australia and residents south of the equator).

Heather, Andy, and their kids
Heather, Andy, and their kids

Our daughter Heather, her girls, her boyfriend Andy, and his kids, took off fast today for a much-needed break from work and a vacation in Branson, MO. It was a surprise for the kids.

There’s lots to do in Branson, although I joke to Ray that it’s “an old people’s place” with country hick singers and the entertainment shows (he loves it). However, Branson has beautiful scenery at Table Rock State Park and nice shopping and restaurants at Branson Landing.

Heather made a fun scavenger hunt at her house, where the kids looked for clues all over the house, until they got to the last clue which read that they were going on summer vacation in Branson. She is such a fun mom! The kids loved the scavenger hunt!

Me & Leah at our home for Thanksgiving 2017
Me & Leah at our home

Today I went to lunch with our youngest daughter Leah. When she was still living at home, she and I would go to lunch every two weeks when Ray was paid.

This was our mom-daughter special time together. After she moved out, I wanted to continue the tradition. Leah now stays busy working, taking her violin lessons, drawing her art, and doing stuff with her friends. We still try to go out every couple of weeks for our “mom-daughter” time.

A Moment's Pause Art Print
A Moment’s Pause art print
Copyright 2018 Leah Jones

You can follow Leah on Instagram @leah.merae to see the art she’s working on recently from daily prompts. You can also check out and buy her art at her Society 6 online store (Leah Merae).

I try to do lunches with Heather, too, only she lives much further away (an hour), she works more than full-time hours, and she is constantly busy, but we see each other when we possibly can.

Eden & her family
Eden & her family

Our middle daughter Eden stays very busy too, working 3 jobs, but she and Ray regularly text and video chat. We drop by to see them at times, since they and Leah live down the street from us in Butler. 

Heather, Eden, and Leah
Heather, Eden, and Leah

While our three precious daughters stay on the go every day and live their own, busy lives, I’m still trying to adjust to the empty nest. (I digress from the first day of summer, but I’m going with the writing flow for now.)

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard. Real hard. The house feels so empty at times. (My marriage isn’t what it should be yet, though we are in Christian marriage counseling now.)

insomnia
woman with insomnia
Image source: Google

At night when things are often too quiet, I lay down, wrestling with insomnia again, and then the mom guilt attacks me. The regrets. The painful ache in my heart, missing their beautiful, sweet faces and their physical presence here.

The haunting, condemning thoughts of, “I should have done more fun things with them” or “I shouldn’t have yelled at them so much” or “Why was I so focused on a clean house instead of just enjoying my time with them more?” Sometimes I miss them so much.

These days I do stay busy with my speaking and writing books. When I’m in between books, I get so restless, and feel like I’m just going to absolutely come out of my skin from boredom and anxiety. Today at lunch, Leah wisely told me, “You need to find new hobbies, mom.”

burger & fries
burger & fries

“Like what?” I asked her in between bites of a juicy cheeseburger and french fries drowned in ketchup. 

Creative things like painting or playing a musical instrument. For example, right now I’m learning to make origami.

Nancy Wilson of Heart
Nancy Wilson of Heart
Image source: Google

I told her that while origami is cool, I don’t want to do that and that I don’t know how on earth to draw or to play an instrument. The only instrument I’ve ever wanted to learn how to play was piano (which I quit my lessons as a child) and the guitar, so I could pretend to be Heart’s musician Nancy Wilson.  But I wanted to play bass guitar, not rhythm. I never learned how, and now I have no desire to be a rock star.

“What else can I do?” I asked my child who is wise beyond her years.

Whatever I want, she said. And Leah thinks that anyone can learn to draw or to play an instrument, no matter what your age is. It’s not too late to learn something new!

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
Image source: Google

Here are some things I DO want to do–this summer:

  • Spend time with God and our family;
  • Travel somewhere new;
  • Start my walking/jogging routine again (pray for my self-discipline, puh-leeze! I’ve gained all my weight back!)
  • Drink more water and continue healthy eating (cut carbs and sugar dramatically, more salads and fresh veggies);
  • Restore our marriage;
  • Possibly write a children’s book with Leah illustrating the art on the front cover (she’s thinking about it!);
  • De-clutter my office (tame the paper tiger!);
  • Go horseback riding somewhere;
  • Have some much needed down time at the beach, my place of rest and refilling;
  • Visit my family and friends in different states;
  • Go on another train ride;
  • Speak at a women’s conference (several times would be great!);
  • Lead at least one person to Christ, hopefully more;
  • See God moving in our family, drawing us closer to Him and one another;
  • Visit the mountains; 
  • Ride a hot air balloon ride with Ray, drinking champagne;
  • Have roses bloom in my home garden;
  • Grow more Christ-like, in the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Laugh more. 

These are just some of the things I’d love to do. What about you? Share your comments below.

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The seed and the soil of your heart

Recently I changed the theme of my website here at BethJones.net, including the header to a beautiful sunflower. I love sunflowers. One reason is that they track the sun as the earth moves during the day. They always face the light. Even as sunflowers follow the sun and the light, may you and I as believers follow the Son and the Light of Life, Jesus Christ.

Heather with her sunflowers
Our daughter Heather with her sunflowers

When recording my podcast today, I found out some amazing facts about sunflowers from MentalFloss.com:

  • Sunflowers were cultivated in North America as far back as 3000 BCE for food, medicine, dye, and oil;
  • They were brought to Russia for Royalty. Tsar Peter the Great was so fascinated by the sunny flowers that he saw in the Netherlands that he took some back to Russia;
  • By the 19th century the flowers had become so popular there, that Russia was planting 2 million acres a year;
  • Sunflowers need 6 to 8 hours a sun a day, and more is even better;
  • Flower buds and blossoms track the sun as the earth moves during the day; mature flowers remain facing east;
  • Sunflowers have a history of healing. Cherokee Indians used them to treat kidneys. Dakotas used them to sooth chest pain and pulmonary trouble;
  • Each sunflower is actually thousands of little flowers;
  • The heads, once empty of sunflower seeds, can be used for scrubbing pads to clean.
sunflowers
sunflowers

Each one of these facts are symbolic spiritually and could be a teaching lesson. We need the light of Christ (the flowers following the sunlight). Jesus is our healer and we have His healing power in us to heal and do miracles in Jesus’ name (sunflowers having healing qualities). God told us to multiply, fill the earth, and make disciples (each sunflower being thousands of flowers). The Word of God and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from our sins (the sunflower head being a cleaning pad). Interesting!

Sunflowers have many seeds. The Bible has a lot to say about seeds and sowing. In Luke 8:4-15, Jesus teaches about the farmer scattering seed.

Sunflowers
Fresh sunflowers

I encourage you to read this passage and ask God what type of soil your heart has:

  • The soil where the seed was stepped on and the birds have come to take away the seed (the devil stealing the seed of God’s word to keep you from believing and obeying it)?
  • The rocky soil that caused the soil to die, because you aren’t deeply rooted in God’s word and temptation causes you to fall away from your faith?
  • The soil that has thorns which are the cares, riches, and pleasures of this world, choking out the word?
  • Or fertile soil where the seed grows and produces an abundant harvest of righteousness?

You can listen to my podcast on this topic here and subscribe at Podbean or on Itunes.

field of sunflowers

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not known which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”–Ecclesiastes 11:6, ESV

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Reward yourself for hard work

Got my hair done-yay!
Got my hair done–yay!

Today, after nearly a YEAR of waiting, I got my hair done–yay! (Colored, blonde highlights, and trim) I feel like a new woman! The Bible says a woman’s hair is her glory. (1 Corinthians 11:15) I believe it! Although hair isn’t everything (it’s the heart that counts), it affects a woman so much when her hair doesn’t look good. I now feel so much more attractive and better about myself. 

hairdresser meme

This appointment was to reward myself for my hard work, writing the last book God told me to write, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Despair to Hope (for sale at Amazon here). Whenever you meet a goal, you should reward yourself for your accomplishment! Make sure it’s something that you love. Today, mine was getting my hair done and eating Mexican!

The Y Factor
The Y Factor Hair and Nail Salon

I enjoy chatting with my hairdresser, Yvette at The Y Factor, in Butler, MO, where I live. She’s an outgoing, friendly Sanguine red-head who talks and laughs a lot. She’s also successful and very knowledgeable about business, so I like talking with her for success ideas. 

chips and salsa
chips and salsa

Afterward, my husband Ray and I went to eat at El Charro, the Mexican restaurant here in town, for me to get my chips and salsa fix (I’m addicted!). I hadn’t eaten lunch today, so I was hungry. I told Ray that I felt like I could eat a horse! He said out of the side of his mouth that he’d be sure to keep me steered clear of any pastures. 

horse meme

My cat Natalya acted like she hadn’t seen me in years after I was gone today. Ray said while I was at the hair salon, she sat at the back door, staring at it and meowing, until she finally resigned herself that I wasn’t coming home for awhile and climbed into bed with him as he tried to sleep, following his work shift. She was glad to see me when I came home. (It’s nice to be so loved!)

She is a very needy cat. I constantly pet her! She’s so sweet, cute, and funny, and she makes me laugh.

Natalya my cat
Natalya my cat

She is now in my office, occasionally meowing at me, so in a little while I need to get off here and pay attention to her and pet her!

“Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” –Colette (author, Gigi)

Beth Jones, Speaker & Author

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been working on my website theme to include a sunflower header. I’ve changed the website frequently yesterday and today. Whenever I get bored, restless, discouraged, or some other intense emotion, I start changing my website theme. I become intently dissatisfied and then obsessed.

Woman entrepreneur at laptop
woman entrepreneur at laptop

As I ate my chips and salsa today, I talked to Ray non-stop about my website and business. He patiently listened and watched me devour my food. Then he wisely told me that people don’t really care how pretty a website is; they are simply looking for good content and a variety of interesting things you can offer them. So true! (But I still like pretty websites!)

This is a new responsive, minimalist WordPress theme called “Freedom.” Do you like it? 

My goal this year is to begin studying marketing for my speaking and books and do whatever else God wants me to do. I want to be aligned with His purpose for my life and follow Jesus. What about you?

“Following Christ isn’t something that can be done halfheartedly or on the side. It is not a label we can display when it is useful. It must be central to everything we do and are.” –Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed By a Relentless God

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