Blog, Faith, Family, Friendship, Marriage, Parenting, prayer

Life, an exciting, fun adventure

birthday cake

birthday cake

Today is my birthday. The number doesn’t matter. I’m just thankful to God, because each year and each day are a gift and a blessing from Him.

I know some “old people” who seem very young in mind, heart, and body. And I know other young and¬† middle-aged people who seem much older than they are, old as Methuselah! (Genesis 5:21-27) I don’t want to wind up like those people who are old, decrepit, and sitting or laying around all day, doing nothing but worrying and talking about their ailments in every conversation!

woman with backpack

woman with backpack

I want to have an exciting, FUN, ADVENTUROUS, life, filled to the brim and overflowing with God’s joy, peace, and love. To experience serendipity ~ pleasant surprises. New, thrilling things around every corner.

A life yielded to God, feeling His smile upon me. In the movie Chariots of Fire,¬† runner Eric Liddell said, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” I want to feel God’s pleasure when He looks at me and my life.¬†

Beth Jones, black and white photo

Beth Jones
B&W photo

Doing all He has called me to do and being who He’s called me to be – a woman of God.

woman in sunlight

woman in sunlight

Reflecting God’s light and love to a dark, confused, fear-filled world. I don’t want to just pass time here on Earth, living in mediocrity, but to leave heart prints on people’s lives. To touch them with Jesus’ power.

Although I’m just an ordinary woman, I want others to see that I, like the disciples, “had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) I want to leave an unmistakable, eternal, unique mark here. I want to be a great person, something that I think is rare. How many great people have you known in your life?

older woman

older woman

As I have become older, and the grey hairs are coming in faster now, the wrinkles more prevalent, I realize how I’m so not 20- or 30-something any more with its seeming fountain of eternal youth (the mirror doesn’t lie!).¬†But I recognize how important God, my family, and other people are ~ and how little physical appearance, material things, the things of this world, mean. How transient, fragile, and empty they really are.¬†

‚ÄúDo not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust¬†destroy and where thieves¬†break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. ¬†For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-24, ESV)

heart of ice Source: http://timoelliott.com/photos/2013/01/17/a-heart-of-ice/

heart of ice
Source: http://timoelliott.com/photos/2013/01/17/a-heart-of-ice/

God’s, others’, and my love are what last and what really matter. “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

My desire is to walk in God’s purpose for my life, to use my spiritual gifts, talents, and skills to glorify God and to help others.

As Erma Bombeck said, “”When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used¬†everything you gave me.” This is my hope, too.

I want to count each day’s blessings. Several years ago, my beautiful, sweet friend Julia told me how she approached each new day. “Every morning when I wake up, it’s like God has this big bag full of presents just for me and those I love. And I excitedly open up those presents and blessings that are for today and I thank Him and use them.” Are you opening yours?

By now, I have lived long enough to know (although I don’t like it at all!) that sometimes “blessings come through raindrops” and “trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.” (Blessings song by Laura Story).

“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2, NASB)

To get that life isn’t all about fun, or about me, me, me.

To recognize that it’s better to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

To understand that tomorrow is not promised and that today is all I (and you) have, and to live it to the utmost. Not taking a single moment for granted.

Regret is a poor teacher. Gratitude is a great companion. Hope and faith are excellent pilots.

faith deco in sunroom

faith deco in sunroom

Today on my birthday, I feel enriched with the love of God, family, and friends. I’m so very thankful for every “Happy Birthday” wish from my family, friends, and acquaintances, whether that is in person, on Facebook or Instagram, in an email, or through snail mail. For the “Happy Birthday to you” song that my friends Liz and Stephanie and my sister Maria sang to me yesterday. For the lovely card my friend Kim in Florida mailed to me.

I’m so grateful for the gorgeous sunflowers and the vivid purple statice that my husband Ray brought me home, with a beautiful unique card, and wireless ear phones. I’m so very thankful that our sweet daughter Leah treated me to lunch this week for my birthday at Hawaiian Brothers and for her “Happy Birthday, mom!” text this morning to me. And for my precious daughter Heather’s text, “Happy birthday, Mom! Love you and hope you had a great day!” after she got off work.

My heart is full and so thankful for our three beautiful daughters Heather, Eden, and Leah, and our precious grandchildren. And oh yes, for my cat Natalya and our daughter Leah’s cat Jax!

sunflowers

sunflowers

card

card

ear phones

ear phones

Hawaiian Brothers lunch

Hawaiian Brothers lunch

I’m an exceedingly blessed woman. And I pray that my “latter days shall be greater than the former.” (Haggai 2:9)

That I’ll live wiser in my older years than my younger ones, that I’ll love and laugh much more, and that I’ll see the beauty of God all around me daily, even in the messy, painful places –like 2020’s craziness and chaos. To find the good, dig out life’s gold in the mire.

May this new year bring God’s abundant goodness and more fulfillment of His purpose in my life to glorify Him. I pray for new, exciting, fun adventures are around the corner!

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Blog

Spiritual warfare: It doesn’t take much

woman on laptop

woman on laptop

For the last several weeks, I’ve been taking an online class through private tutoring on Skype and using Google Documents (“Google Docs”). Last night as I prepared to review this past Saturday’s lesson and do my homework, I discovered to my chagrin that Google Docs would not open.

I tried multiple times to open it, then emailed my instructor to please re-send the document so I could do my assignment. Being a busy wife, mom of two teen girls, and a teacher of other students, she replied that she had already sent me the link to Google Docs and my homework was simply to write several sentences from what we’d already gone over on Saturday.¬†

laptop, phone, and coffee

laptop, phone, and coffee

I don’t think that I clearly communicated what was happening here. I wasn’t just being lazy or careless about opening the doc, but some¬†tech issue was stopping me from accessing the Google doc!

Later I discovered that for some reason, my laptop’s Firewall was not allowing me to open it. Then why had it allowed me to open it this past Saturday and the weeks prior to that? (It could have been the recent updates.)

My instructor said, “This is very strange. This has never happened before with any of my students.” This should have been a clue!

Girl with pencils

Girl with pencils

This morning right before class I was able to open it,  we got through the lesson with a few more tech hiccups, and then I started on more work after home-made tacos for a late lunch.

After class, I asked someone else for an anti-virus software recommendation. Free is not always better!

After I installed the recommended software, my laptop screen went BLACK. The death knell of laptops! I tried to not freak out. Did the usual things in this situation: Escape. Push keys. Control, alt, delete. Nope.

After 30 minutes of troubleshooting, I did the only things left I knew to do. Prayed, texted my husband Ray and my sister Maria, and then I cried. 

Woman crying

Woman crying

Spiritual warfare. It doesn’t take much, does it? Ridiculous and immature, I know. It’s not like someone DIED. But techy issues are in the top 10, maybe even the top 3, of major stressors in my life. My sister concurred, saying she hates tech issues and she was so sorry that I was dealing with this.

Shortly after I vented to Ray and Maria, prayed, and had a good ol’ Scarlett O’Hara “crying jag,” the laptop began working again. I just stared at it, mute and depressed.

¬†Jeremiah 12:5, NKJV, says, “If you have run with the footmen and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?” If computer tech issues stress me out so bad, how on earth am I going to handle bigger battles?

Satan knows it doesn’t take much at all to “get” to us. Things like:

  • You didn’t win one of the 22 free tickets for a trip to Hawaii at your work’s breakfast meeting this morning (you really want to go to Hawaii!);
  • You get a severe migraine from stress (all the bills, the kids’ messes, arguments with your husband about dumb stuff) and can’t focus on your job at work;
  • You have tons of reading assignments for your college class, right after you get off work at 8:30 p.m (and you work early again in the morning!);
  • A patient puked on you in the ambulance at your paramedic job;
  • Your beloved golden retriever dog pooped on your fave Skechers shoes;
  • You go on Facebook and see her big, smiling pics again–her online biz is thriving, she has a glorious summer tan to go with her blonde, highlighted hair (a la “California Girls” style), and she actually has a happy marriage;
  • A fly is buzzing around the kitchen as you try to cook supper;
  • You’re totally out of creamer for your morning coffee;
  • A virus shuts down the entire planet for months.

See what I mean? Forget the devastating impact another world war can cause; you might not be able to have your coffee today!

Golden retriever dog

Golden retriever dog

The little things become THE BIG THING. Or as I recently read in a book of a Scottish saying, “Many a mickle make a muckle.”

Satan doesn’t have to create a muckle to ruin our whole day. All he has to do is send a few “tech gremlins” over to mess with ya, when you’ve got important things on your to-do list.

C.S. Lewis put it accurately in his fascinating book, The Screwtape Letters:

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”

In other words, the best way for Satan to turn me into a stark, raving-mad lunatic is to cause me tech issues on my laptop, for me to get hot, thirsty, and hungry, or for Ray to bang cabinets in the morning and burn food.

I look around at the world today and see that I’m not alone in feeling easily overwhelmed, stressed out, depressed, anxious, fearful, or angry over the mickles (the small things).¬†

people wearing masks

people wearing face masks

Even Christian believers–we who are supposed to be like little Jesuses on the Earth–are fighting over whether to wear face masks; how to write the letter “X” (tweeted 48.6k times in 2019); or if you should bite or lick your ice cream (196 results on Twitter, with 47.4% biting and 52.6% licking it).¬†

Jesus dealt with these absurdities in His day, too. He said in Matthew 23:23, NLT: “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law–justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”

Examples of this are:

  • the men who wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery (but where was the man who was in bed with her? What about the stone-throwers’ own sins? John 8:1-11);
  • the religious people who were angry that Jesus healed the woman bent over for 18 years, on the Sabbath (Luke 13);
  • the disciples offended that the woman broke the alabaster jar and anointed Jesus’ feet with it, instead of selling it and giving the money to the poor (Matthew 26:6-13);
  • the poor widow who put in 2 small coins as an offering, worth a small fraction of a danarius, whom Jesus said gave more than all those contributing out of their abundance (Mark 12:41-44);
  • the little boy who gave 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish, which fed over 5,000 people (John 6:9);
  • the man with the withered hand. Jesus asked, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” They were silent and Jesus was angry and grieved at their hardness of heart. When he restored the man’s hand, the Pharisees went out and counseled with the Herodians how to destroy Him. (Mark 3:1-6)

No, it doesn’t take much for Satan to upset and anger people. Even God doing good things.

May our prayer today be for God to help us each day to walk in more of His agape love, grace, mercy, faith, patience, and justice. To deal with the little mickle and not make a muckle out of it.

What “mickle” do you struggle with? Leave your comments below.

coffee and beans

coffee and beans

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Blog, Faith, Family, Parenting, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

Are you using your spiritual gifts for Jesus’ glory? Hawaiian party and Zoom event

Pineapple centerpiece

Pineapple centerpiece

Yesterday I visited my beautiful, precious daughter Heather and our grandkids Annabelle and Violet, and Heather’s fiance’s children Kayden and Eian. I bought Hawaiian-themed decorations and pepperoni pizza, chocolate cupcakes, and gifts for a “Back to school” little party. I was so happy to see and hug them. It was fun. They enjoyed it and they all thanked me.

Hawaiian-themed decorations

Hawaiian-themed decorations

Work that crown napkins

Work that crown napkins

chocolate cupcakes

chocolate cupcakes

HyVee grocery store only had “Happy Birthday” cupcakes, with the Frozen movie theme, but they were chocolate, so I bought them. They were delicious and the kids loved them!

Continue Reading

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail