Don’t stop dreaming and my Kindle book on Ireland!

Our beautiful daughter Leah at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

When I realized this week how long it’d been since I blogged here at BethJones.net, I felt dismayed. I could give you a million excuses for why, but it boils down to the usual: I’ve been busy. Everyone is, though, right?

But here’s what has been happening in my life recently:

  • I went on a week-long trip to Ireland with our daughter Leah in September 2018;
  • I started a new part-time Administrative Assistant job in October 2018. I’m no longer there as of this week, as my season there has ended and God has new things for me to do now;
  • I flew to Georgia to visit my sister Maria and her family and to Florida to spend time with my friends Kim, Pat, and their kids at Christmas 2018;
  • Through a friend’s influence, I spoke and gave my testimony at a church;
  • I went back to Florida this year in the spring for several days, to visit Kim and her family and to enjoy a much-needed beach marathon (the ocean is my place of peace and refilling);
  • I wrote a Kindle eBook about Leah’s and my trip to Ireland with beautiful pics, which is now live on Amazon. You can get it here;
  • Right now I’m working on writing my first children’s book about Leah’s and my cats, Jax and Natalya! This is unfamiliar territory for me. For years Ray and Leah have been encouraging me to write a children’s book. I kept saying I didn’t know how, but now I finally am! As writers, we need to stretch and push ourselves, to hone our craft. We’ll see how it goes! I’m asking Leah, who is now taking college graphic design courses, to design the front cover. I pray she does; she’s an amazing artist! I’m excited about this new venture.

I’ve also been going through more intense spiritual warfare the last several years. Satan never seems to stop. Please say a prayer for me and my family. Christ has the victory, amen!

One thing I want to encourage you to do: Don’t stop dreaming!

God can make your biggest, most impossible dreams come true, as Leah and I are living proof from our trip to Ireland!

Let me know if you need prayer, too. I’ll be happy to pray for you! God is a mighty, prayer-answering God!

I’ll try to be more consistent blogging now! Let me know what topics interest YOU!

*******

Get my newest Kindle eBook at Amazon, with beautiful pics of the “Emerald Isle” Ireland. It’s about my and Leah’s exciting adventures, traveling there in 2018. 

Ireland, Soft Rains. Your big dreams CAN come true!

With fresh BONUS content–never-before released, short video clips that showcase Ireland’s beauty. Also, videos on My Best Travel Tips and funny stories about our time there!

Just $5.99! Find out more here.

Copyright 2019 Beth Jones
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Forever Valentine

Valentine’s Day is a big day in the lives of Americans and in 2019, shoppers will add a $20.7 billion to the economy. Younger people spend more than older people, and men spend nearly twice as many as women. The top 5 gifts are candy, greeting cards, an evening out, flowers, and jewelry. Millennials have more pets than any other age group and love to splurge on their pets at holidays, with ages 25 to 34 expected to spend $12.70 each.

The Cat Ball
The Cat Ball
Resource: https://www.thecatball.com/products/cat-ball-modern-cat-bed-in-capri-blue-and-deep-pink-paw-prints-fabric

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, next to Christmas. I love hearts, love the powerful color red, and love the cute decorations and cute Valentine gifts I buy our kids and grandkids.

One decoration I bought myself was a Snoopy holding a pink heart, which reads, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Snoopy is so cute and funny–and he’s a writer!

Snoopy
Valentine’s Day Snoopy

 

decorations for home
Valentine’s Day decorations for home

I also love chocolate, and the day is a perfect excuse to bake brownies for our family so I can have some and today I made some for work, too, and some chocolate drizzled popcorn!

Brownies & cute table decorations for my family
Brownies & cute table decorations for my family

 

Chocolate-drizzled popcorn for work
Chocolate-drizzled popcorn for work
Decorative hearts on my window at work
Beautiful girls! Our granddaughters Violet and Annabelle and their friend Kelsey in their Valentine's Day beanies I bought them. So cute!
Beautiful girls! Our granddaughters Violet and Annabelle
and their friend Kelsey in their Valentine’s Day beanies I bought them. So cute!

For some people, Valentine’s Day isn’t a happy day due to death of their loved one, separation or divorce, being single and alone, or being sick or injured in the hospital or at home. One kind thing you can do for someone who’s single and/or feels lonely or is hurting in some way is to buy them a gift, take them out to eat, or to do something special for them on Valentine’s Day.

One example of this is that our daughter Leah’s boss and his wife bought her a huge, adorable, soft, pink dog and two boxes of chocolates for Valentine’s Day last night at work. This was SO thoughtful and made her so happy–love it! What a great, generous thing to do! 

Today think of someone who you can bless with Jesus’ love.

Huge, soft, adorable dog that
our daughter Leah’s boss and his wife
bought her for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day reminds me of God’s love for you and me, how He gave His only son Jesus and Jesus died to save us from our sins and so we could live forever with God in Heaven. You and I are Jesus’ Forever Valentine.

Valentine's Day heart
Valentine’s Day heart
Image source: Google

Today as you spend Valentine’s Day with your family and friends, remember that God loves you so much! Jesus paid the price for your life with His precious blood. Reflect on that kind of amazing love.

Have a happy, blessed Valentine’s Day!

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved.”–Ephesians 2:4-5

Me with sterling silver, hearts necklace Ray gave me today
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My one word for 2019

Several years ago I stopped making New Year resolutions, because, let’s face it, they were broken the first month (sometimes the first week!)–like walking again or eating healthier! I heard about instead, creating a #oneword and a Scripture verse(s) to go along with it.

One word

When I began to do this, I no longer felt condemnation that I was breaking my New Year resolutions so quickly. I also discovered that as I earnestly prayed to God about this matter, the #oneword always turned out to be a prophetic theme for the entire year.

joy
Red cardinals joy decoration

For example, my #oneword in 2018 was JOY. At times, last year was anything but joyful! There were many hard times. I have cried a lot the last several years, more than I ever have in my entire life.

pensive woman
pensive woman

We all have stress and battle worries–relationship problems. Business or ministry challenges. Health issues. Financial struggles. But joy is a choice. You can be joyful even in adversity or a major crisis! Joy is not the same as happiness.

Smiling child

God wants us happy, just as we do our own children. But joy, like faith, isn’t based on circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) We must choose faith, and we must choose joy.

Compass pointing north
Compass pointing north
Image source: Google

Usually, the last week of December of each year, I pray about the coming new year, for God to protect and bless me and my family and friends, for His guidance and presence with us, and for a #oneword and Scripture(s) for the coming year.

I ask Him to be mine and my family’s compass, our “true north.” (This expression comes from the great chick flick movie, Message In A Bottle, with Kevin Costner!)

Message in a Bottle movie
Message in a Bottle movie

God speaks in a myriad of ways to His children:

  • primarily through His holy word, the Bible;
  • by His still, small voice to our hearts as we pray and listen to Him;
  • from other people, sharing His words of truth and encouragement;
  • in nature (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”–Psalm 19:1, NIV);
  • through signs in the sky, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. (Luke 21:25);
  • in other signs, such as red cardinal birds, mourning doves, eagles, the wind, a billboard, a car’s bumper sticker, something said on a podcast, radio or TV show, a voice in a crowd, etc. Obviously, we can’t base our lives on these “signs,” but God can speak to His children however He wants to get His message of truth across to us. Sometimes it’s like He needs a two by four to get the message through our thick heads and stubborn hearts!

Just prior to January 2019 beginning, I noticed the words “humble” and “humility” in a couple of different places. First, the words Stay HUMBLE were inscribed on chapstick that I’d received in a gift box.

Stay humble chapstick
Stay humble chapstick gift

That’s interesting, I thought. The words “humble” and “humility” started popping up like Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter popcorn on Facebook posts.

popcorn popping
popcorn popping;
Image source: Google

Then I started seeing the words a LOT! A recurrent theme.

Oh no, I thought in dread. Uh oh—wait a minute! That’s my one word for 2019, isn’t it, God?

I knew what that meant (God was going to smash my PRIDE), and heck no, I did NOT want that word! Which is probably exactly why He is giving it to me!

Why couldn’t I get a nicer, easier, funner word like adventures? Or dream bigger? Or overflow, especially in our bank account? Or laughter?

But no. My words are humble and humility! Yes, I know humility is a beautiful, Christ-like virtue and God is doing this for my own good.

You and I know there is just no use fighting God. In the end, He’s going to get His way. Because He’s God!

Jacob wrestling
Jacob wrestling with God
Image source: Google

We can wrestle with Him until daybreak like Jacob did (Genesis 32:22-32), but we’ll walk away with a painful limp. God is bigger and more powerful than you and me, so we might as well submit and obey!

So I started researching the definition of humility to begin preparing spiritually for 2019. (Here goes nothing!)

  • freedom from pride or arrogance;
  • a lack of ego;
  • lowness; an attitude of service;
  • the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance;
  • serving others for their good, as well as your own;
  • a realistic appreciation of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.

Synonyms for humility include:

  • demureness;
  • down-to-earthness;
  • lowliness;
  • meekness;
  • modesty.

You know, traits that are so unlike me! People who know me well would NOT describe me as demure–reserved, bashful, shrinking. Instead, my sister Maria describes my approach in life more like “a bull in a china shop.” 

Antonyms (the opposite) of humility are even more revealing–and alarming!

  • arrogance;
  • assumption;
  • conceit;
  • haughtiness;
  • huffiness;
  • presumptuousness;
  • pretense;
  • pride;
  • imperiousness (domineering);
  • obtrusiveness;
  • superiority.

STOP! Is anyone else getting uncomfortable here?! Well, I sure am. But then it’s my #oneword, not yours–unless God says so!

Remember that pride, and then rebellion, was Satan’s sin. We don’t want to be like the devil, do we? I don’t!

Humility and gratitude
Humility and gratitude

Mother Teresa said, “If you are humble, then nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”

No doubt that I have some family members, or even friends, who will remind me throughout this year of my #oneword humility and how I am being so NOT humble!

Maybe humility isn’t your strong suit, either. I have good news, dear friend. When we stumble and fall, as we surely will, we can get back up.

That is why Jesus died for you and me; nobody is perfect but Him. He’s teaching us to be more like Him each moment.

You and I can breathe again, and be thankful that God’s mercies are new every beautiful morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

Humility book
Humility book

This week, I ordered a used copy of Andrew Murray’s book Humility from Amazon to start off the year right and plan to do other studies on this topic as well.

My Scripture verses for 2019, based on these words humble and humility are:

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)

“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6, NKJV. The NLT translation says, “And He gives grace generously.”)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)

This last Scripture shows me that I need to be alert in Spirit this year. Satan wants to cause destruction in mine and my family’s life, to devour and kill us. I thank God that Jesus Christ is more powerful and the battle belongs to the Lord, who has the victory already!

The great news in all this? If we humble ourselves before God and cultivate a lifestyle of humility, depending on and trusting solely in Him, the Bible says God will give us HONOR and EXALT us! (Good surprises for us, for HIS glory!) Isn’t that exciting? 

Do you have a #oneword, Scripture verse(s), and/or theme for the new year 2019? Please share it below with me! And let’s pray for each other this year to walk it out with God’s grace and help!FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail