Still time for your (God’s) bucket list

pumpkin
pumpkin

This year has sped by, hasn’t it? Again.

The older you are, the faster the years go. You grasp at time, but it rushes through your hands like turbulent rapids in a river, and there’s no stopping it. That’s why it’s important to be present in the moments each day and to savor your time with loved ones. To live intentionally.

rapids
rapids

Christmas is around the corner and the new year. I think it’s important to live each day fully, and there is still time to get things accomplished this year. What things?

Writing a to-do list
Writing a to-do list

Whatever matters most, what is important to you personally–and to God. I highly recommend reading the book What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? 52 Things You Don’t Want To Miss.

family pic
family pic

 

coffee pic
coffee pic

 

fall decos
fall decos

 

For me, that would be:

  • Using my spiritual gifts for God and living out my purpose daily;
  • Working on healing my marriage to Ray;
  • Staying connected with our 3 beautiful daughters and 4 precious grandkids (soon to be 5!);
  • Having my “coffee with God” time each morning, praying, journaling, & reading the Bible;
  • Walking/jogging at the track and eating healthy to become fitter;
  • Enjoying this new fall season (pumpkin scented candles, mm; pretty sunflowers decos);
  • Traveling to new places;
  • Being an example of Christ to all those God brings across my path each day.

What about you? What is left on your bucket list that you’d like to do before this year ends?

fall trail
fall trail

 

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God’s sweet grace: My speaking event at ladies’ retreat in Liberty, Missouri

This past Sunday, October 15, 2017, I had the honor to speak at the Precious Blood Retreat Center in Liberty, MO, for a women’s retreat. I’ve been speaking for over 10 years now, and in all that time, I’ve never received such a generous gift as the event planners and women gave me at this one! 

Carla, me, & Kathy (event planners for retreat)
Carla, me, & Kathy (event planners for retreat)

 

chapel
chapel

 

center
center

 

statue in garden
statue in garden

The event planner, Carla, told me that as a small church, they had a tight budget and might not be able to pay me a lot. Not only did they give me twice the amount of speaking fee I was expecting, but they also gave me a bag of chocolates, the goody bags they gave the attendees, a beautiful journal, and an entire cute, white crate filled with new gifts the women had bought me! I was in shock and so touched by this! WOW! What a blessing!

white crate of gifts
white crate of gifts

 

the generous gifts
the generous gifts

 

2018 planner, dip bowl, prayer note cards, bird deco
2018 planner, dip bowl, prayer note cards, bird deco

 

cute measuring bowls
cute measuring bowls

 

hand-made blankets
hand-made blankets

 

coaster
coaster

I was just blown away by their generosity!

ladies at retreat
ladies at retreat

 

women at weekend retreat
women at weekend retreat

The women were so sweet and made me feel so welcome. Several ladies came up after I spoke to thank me for sharing my testimony and said that it blessed them. Their theme for this retreat was A Chocolate Life Devotional by Deb Burma. I tailored my presentation to this, sharing my story and talking about God’s sweet grace.

me as keynote speaker
me as keynote speaker

 

A Chocolate Life devotional
A Chocolate Life devotional

 

Here in the pictures below, the women are writing their thank you cards to Jesus for the blessings He has given them in their lives. The event planners, Carla and Kathy, put so much work, planning, and organization into this; I was so impressed! The ladies went through all of the devotionals in the book on Friday night and Saturday. It was a full weekend of teaching from Carla. And of course, there was LOTS of chocolate! (I brought some Dove chocolates for them, too.)

women writing thank you's to Jesus
women writing thank you’s to Jesus
women at ladies' retreat
women at ladies’ retreat

 

teen girls
teen girls

This beautiful lady, Jennifer, is the mom of two beautiful twin girls. Jennifer is a nurse at Saint Luke’s hospital in Overland Park, KS. I enjoyed talking with her and am so glad there were all ages there, including youth! They have a powerful testimony, almost dying at birth.

Jennifer and her twin daughters
Jennifer and her twin daughters

These ladies, Kathy and Karen, are sisters, too. Karen bought my book on 8 women’s powerful stories of spiritual warfare, and greatly encouraged me about what I’d shared. Here we were outside, on the fun scavenger hunt. We looked up Bible verses for the clues.

Sisters Kathy & Karen on the scavenger hunt outside
Sisters Kathy & Karen on the scavenger hunt outside

This cute, little older lady is Fran. She chose to be my partner when we worked on the scavenger hunt. She was so sweet!

Fran
Fran

I always give away a gift bag when I speak at events, including a free copy of one of my books. In this gift bag I included my memoir, a pumpkin scented candle, and a cute orange notepad with a cat on the front, which read “Meow! Meow! Meow!” I asked God to help me pick the right woman to receive it and asked, “Who loves cats?”

gift bag for Paula
gift bag for Paula

I chose Paula, who is in the pic below with me. She was so happy; she’d never won anything before. She has an orange cat named Garfield! God knew!

She blessed me so much, giving me a big hug. She also hand-made one of the beautiful blankets in the white crate gift!

me & Paula
me & Paula

The night before, it had stormed badly and there was even a tornado watch there at the retreat center, with the power going out a couple of times. But Sunday was a gorgeous fall day. The sunshine and cool weather were exhilirating!

It was a gorgeous fall day!
It was a gorgeous fall day!

At the end of the retreat, each woman could choose a beautiful journal to take home.

journals
journals

 

trust journal
trust journal

I chose the one which had the scripture on love.

love journal
love journal

The Precious Blood Retreat Center is by a beautiful lake with a walking trail. It was so peaceful there. I was very impressed with the center, and contacted the staff today about possibly hosting my own ladies’ retreat there next spring or fall 2018. It has a building with a meeting room, a big kitchen and a dining room, numerous bedrooms upstairs and downstairs, bathrooms (including showers), and a washer and dryer room. BIG PLUS: it has a Keurig coffee maker and cups in the dining room, and Wi-fi!

retreat bedroom
retreat bedroom

 

writing desk in bedroom
writing desk in bedroom

 

Keurig coffee maker & cups
Keurig coffee maker & cups

 

retreat lake
retreat lake

 

fountain
fountain

 

beautiful lake
beautiful lake

 

I had a perfect ending to this event; I had chips and salsa and soft chicken tacos at a nearby Mexican restaurant!

chips and salsa
chips and salsa

 

chicken tacos
chicken tacos

It was such a blessing and privilege to meet Carla and all the ladies at this event and to speak there. If you are an event planner or know someone who needs a speaker for their women’s conference, retreat, or event, you can contact me here.

me, women's retreat, Liberty, MO
me, women’s retreat, Liberty, MO
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Two hours in the sun for doughnuts!

Hurts Doughnuts
Hurts Doughnuts

Recently our daughter Heather asked me to go buy her a dozen doughnuts for her and her coworkers from Hurts Doughnuts Company, a mobile specialty doughnut business which was going to be in Harrisonville, Missouri, about 20 miles north of where I live.

Their motto means you eat so many of their delicious doughnuts, that it hurts! On a regular day, they will sell between 8,000 to 10,000 donut, with more than 70 doughnut variations such as their S’mores, Snickers, and Cookie Monster doughnuts. The Springfield store is open 24 hours a day. 

Hurts Donuts
Hurts Donuts

They deliver the donuts in an “Wham-bulance,” an ambulance and a U-Haul. Based out of Springfield, Missouri, the business is now coming to the Kansas City, MO, area, which Heather is very excited about.

Wham-bulance
Wham-bulance

Being the nice mom I am, I said okay, unsuspecting of what I’d endure. Heather told me to get there early as the buzz was building already. I planned to arrive at 11:00 a.m. since they would open at 12 noon, located in the parking lot of a tire company.

I thought that an hour was a long time to wait, but when I arrived, I found out that the people who were first in line had been camping out in the parking lot since 8 a.m. that morning…for doughnuts!

I could not believe it! This is how long the line was when I got there. Even more people were in back of me. CRAZY! (God gave me favor and I was able to get a parking spot right in front immediately! Go, God!)

line in parking lot
line in parking lot

To top it off, it was really hot that day. Only the great LOVE I have for my daughter Heather could make me do such a thing, as I hate heat and hate waiting! I did come prepared, though, with a hat, sunblock, and shades!

me waiting in the hot sun
me waiting in the hot sun

Fortunately, the employees were handing out free bottles of cold water from Country Club Bank and Price Chopper to the customers. I accepted two of them, and was so thankful!

One of them was the owner’s sister, who is in the pic below in the pink T-shirt with their company logo. She was videoing everyone in line with Facebook Live.  She told me about the people at the start of the line, who’d been waiting there since 8 a.m.

She also said the company was bringing a U-Haul with more doughnuts as there were more customers in line than they anticipated: 250 people at her last count. I texted this to Heather, who laughed and said this was insane. I agree! 

A missionary friend of mine, Ron Hedrick of Global Community Outreach, who lives in Guatemala with his wife Rhonda, their son Jeremiah, and who have adopted 10 Guatemalan children, saw my pics on Facebook and said, “This scares me.” It should. Would people wait in line this long in the hot sun to hear a message about Jesus Christ or be baptized? [I encourage you to donate to Ron and Rhonda’s ministry in Guatemala as they do amazing, selfless work for Christ there.]

sister of owner
sister of owner

 

free bottle of cold water
free bottle of cold water

A few things helped me to wait it out: an occasional cool breeze and a customer who was sitting in her truck nearby with the window open and the radio playing some good music. My motto whenever you go anywhere or do something new is, “Have fun and take lots of pics!”

I  entertained myself by talking to others in line, watching the little kids play happily, and taking pics to post on this blog, Facebook, and my new Instagram page. (I messed up my IG account when I updated my iPhone to the 7, and had to create a brand new Instagram account because the name”Beth Jones” was already taken! I lost all my previous followers, so I’m rebuilding it again. I invite you to follow me there.)  

The kids’ faces were turning red from the heat, but they didn’t seem to mind it and chased each other, laughing. The little girl in the dress with braids was so adorable. I was reminded of how fast my own children (3 daughters) had grown up and of Matthew 19:14, NASB:

But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

little boys playing
little boys playing
happy kids
happy kids

Turns out it was too hot to wait that long for the young mom with a whiny toddler and a fussy baby in a stroller right in front of me, so she left, deciding to go for an ice cream with them instead. Smart idea!

young mom with kids
young mom with kids

One of the varieties that Hurts Donuts is famous for is their bacon maple doughnut. I love bacon, but who on earth would want bacon on a doughnut? Apparently a lot of people, as it is one of their best sellers!

I bought a Snickers and a cheesecake doughnut for Heather, other types of doughnuts to make a dozen and a half for her and her coworkers to share, and a bacon maple one for her coworkers to sample. She told me later that it wasn’t her cup of tea. Mine, either! I tried the chocolate one with chocolate frosting and it tasted DIVINE!

bacon maple doughnut
bacon maple doughnut

I was very concerned about the girl standing in front of me in line, whose neck was getting badly sunburned. The pic doesn’t do the fire-redness justice.

girl with sunburned neck
girl with sunburned neck

One of the employees passing out water, who told me that he works at the corporate office (in the hat and T-Shirt at the table in the pic below), said they had been up since 1 a.m. to prepare for this event.

He and another gal working at the table under the Country Club Bank tent told me that they “loved” my LOVE hat. They were really friendly people.

Hurts Donuts employees
Hurts Donuts employees

Observing the long line of customers, I estimated that the average customer would buy a dozen doughnuts at $15 a box. (I bought 2 dozen total, plus the bacon maple.) There were 250 people in line, so that is $3,750 made in just a few hours! Whoa!

When I asked the corporate employee how on earth they manage to get this many people to buy their doughnuts, he said it’s all about the marketing: social media and live streaming. (Facebook Live–have you tried it? I haven’t yet, but maybe I need to! Or maybe I should start selling great doughnuts!)

Heather was appreciative that I did this for her. She told me that her coworkers said I am an “awesome mom.” I’m glad that I made my daughter happy and that someone thinks I’m awesome!

Me & my beautiful, precious daughter Heather with her doughnuts!
Me & my beautiful, precious daughter Heather with her doughnuts!

I also bought some for our family. I stopped by to drop them off after I took Heather hers. Below are pics of our granddaughters Annabelle and Violet, who enjoyed their doughnuts as well. 

Annabelle & Violet with their doughnuts
Annabelle & Violet with their doughnuts

 

Annabelle
Our precious & silly granddaughter Annabelle
Violet with her cute messy bun
Our red-headed granddaughter Violet with her cute messy bun

Heather suggested that I take pics of this unusual, funny event and blog about it, so here goes my take on it. I decided to blog about it from a business perspective:

  • Sell what people want, not what they need, as your product. (They wanted sugar!)
  • It’s all about the marketing and building buzz by word of mouth. (Take advantage of social media & live streaming.)
  • People will wait a long time, even in the heat or cold winter, for a good offer. (Several hours in the hot sun!)
  • Be creative and offer a variety of products. (Examples: Bacon maple, Cookie Monster, chocolate with sprinkles or Fruit Loops, caramel drizzle, Snickers, or cheesecake doughnuts.)
  • Connect and network with other business owners. Don’t be a lone ranger biz owner. (Country Club Bank and Price Chopper helped Hurts Donuts  with the tent and the water.)
  • Be friendly and good to your customers. (Employees live streaming to built anticipation, passing out free bottles of cold water & making sure their customers were okay in the heat.)
  • Have fun at what you’re doing! (The employees joking around with their customers as they waited.)
How To Write Your Book Fast: Making Your Writing Dreams Come True
Cover art: Copyright 2016 Beth Jones

And speaking of a great product, my newest PRINT (physical) book is ready now: How To Write Your Book Fast: Making Your Writing Dreams Come True. You can find out more or buy it by clicking here: https://www.createspace.com/6634013

Have you heard of Hurts Donuts before? Ever waited this long for one or something else? What do you think of this? Leave your comments below.

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