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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!

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What I’ve been learning lately

Woman lying on upper back and holding her lower back in balance. Image Source: Istock

Beautiful woman lying on upper back & holding her lower back in balance. Image Source: Istock

Summer is here and it’s a good time to reflect on and reevaluate how the year is going. You and I may have had bodacious plans for 2020, such as traveling to another country, getting fit and losing 20 pounds, or becoming debt-free. We certainly didn’t expect to be in the middle of a global pandemic and seeing riots, looting, and violence over George Floyd and racism.¬†

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Anxious, depressed, and stressed during Coronavirus & Shelter In Place order?

Woman with face mask Image source: Unsplash

Woman with face mask
Image source: Unsplash

If you are like me, you have been battling anxiety, depression, and great stress during the Coronavirus crisis and the Shelter In Place order across the U.S. and the world.

My biggest concern is about our three daughters, our grandkids, or other loved ones contracting the virus (as well as concern for my husband Ray and myself). Second, like many people, I’m worried about the U.S. and the global economy.¬†

I do know that no matter what, God is still on the throne as the King and in control of everything, and I must trust in Him. The Coronavirus did NOT take God by surprise! He’s got you and me in His loving, capable hands.

Here is an article with some good tips for coping with anxiety.

pink peony from our yard

pink peony from our yard

Some of the ways I am coping are the following. I hope they can help you, too.

  • Spend daily quiet time with God, reading & studying the Bible, praying, and worshipping/praising Him. I call this my Coffee With God time and even wrote a book about it, which you can find here at Amazon.
  • Staying connected with my beloved family and friends. Recently, I was FINALLY able to see and hug my precious daughters Heather and Leah and our two granddaughters, Annabelle and Violet. I hadn’t been able to see them for over a month due to the virus and Shelter In Place order in Missouri, where we live. Once it lifted, I had lunch with Leah and went to see Heather and the girls for Violet’s 14th birthday. This made me so happy! Our daughter Eden and her family moved to Colorado this¬† year, so we haven’t been able to see them since then. We miss them, but I’m glad they seem so happy and recently got their own apartment there near Denver.
  • Having online Zoom meetings is a great tool to do that (also for business and ministry purposes). There is a paid and unpaid version. The unpaid version is limited to 40 minutes and 100 participants (attendees). The two paid versions have other features, multiple hosts and participants. On Monday nights, I join my sweet friend Kim and her friend Allison in Jacksonville, Florida, for Kim’s Bible study on the book of James. On Thursday nights, I attend my speaker/leadership coach/author friend Doreen Penner for her Zoom “chocolate bites” for inspiring words of encouragement. On Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Central Time (11:30 a.m. Eastern Time), I offer a free Zoom “Virtual Coffee & Prayer” time for ladies. If you’re interested in joining us, comment below or contact me here.
  • I’ve been spending 10-15 minutes a day in the sunshine to help my body absorb Vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the body to absorb calcium, and for bone growth, bone healing, and immune system function, which is very important right now with the Coronavirus out there. Spending even a few minutes out in the sunshine can provide your body with the Vitamin D it needs for the day. I notice an immediate difference in my mood when I spend time outdoors.¬†
  • Journal daily. Writing about your deepest fears can help reduce your inhibited emotions and the stress that comes with them, and releases negative thoughts and feelings. Journaling improves mental health, boosts positive feelings and enhances your sense of well-being.¬†
  • I take hot baths before bedtime. This helps to relax me. Sometimes I add Epsom salts.
  • I’ve been working in my little flower gardens lately. To my surprise, our youngest daughter Leah bought me fresh Azaleas flowers for Mother’s Day. This really blessed me and I planted them outside this week. I’m fervently praying that they survive and thrive! Last week, I bought purple and white annuals, and still have one pink rose bush that survived from last year. The peony bush on the side of our house which Ray accidentally mowed over came back, and is in full bloom. I also bought some cute fairy decorations for the annuals garden. Pictures of the gardens are below. Some health benefits of gardening are that it burns a lot of calories, it can lower your blood pressure, it helps your body to make Vitamin D, it can relieve stress, and it can make you happier.
  • I am reading more. This week’s books are Switch On Your Brain (Dr. Caroline Leaf), Get Out of Your Head (Jennie Allen), and Broken: A Story of Abuse, Survival, and Hope. Reading keeps your mind strong and healthy, improves your memory and focus, enhances your peace, and alleviates stress.¬†
  • Recently I’m watching Lost again. We all need down time to help with stress. This is probably the 4th time I’ve been watching the episodes again. I rarely watch TV, but this is probably one of my all-time fave shows. My daughter Heather told me about it when she began watching it years ago. I love it because it’s interesting (mysteries), funny, it has romance, and it makes you think about spiritual things. What is your “show”?
  • I pet and play with my black cat with green eyes, Natalya. She amuses me. I adopted Natalya three years ago from HelpHumane in Belton, Missouri. She was 3 1/2 years old at that time. Natalya’s owners had been in a house fire. They thought she had died in it, but she had just run during the fire. They had to move out of the house due to the damage and gave her to the shelter. Natalya loves me and is constantly following me around the house or in my lap with her soft blanket. I wrote about her and our daughter Leah’s cat in my first children’s book, Nat and Jax, available here at Amazon. Studies show that pets reduce stress and fear, and increase oxytocin levels in the brain. Pet adoptions and fostering has surged during the Coronavirus crisis.¬†
  • I’m trying to eat healthier, drink more water, take a women’s multi-vitamin and Vitamin D/Calcium, Cinnamon, and Biotin, and do more self-care (such as trying new makeup). During times of crisis, it’s important to take care of yourself as never before. Your cortisol levels increase. Try adding more fresh vegetables and fruit to your diet, increase your water daily, and do stretches or go for a walk. I bought a weighted blanket recently, take Melatonin about a half hour before bedtime, and sometimes use Lavender essential oil, which seems to be helping my struggles with insomnia. There is only one, unique YOU in this world. God created you and me for a Divine purpose and mission. Take care of yourself and let your light shine.

I hope these tips above help you. What are you doing to help with anxiety, depression, and stress during Coronavirus and the Shelter In Place order?

“Trust in him at all times, oh people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” ~Psalm 62:8

Below are some pretty pics of my little gardens that I’ve been working in this past week. I hope they bless you.

pink Azaleas my sweet daughter Leah bought me for Mother's Day

pink Azaleas my sweet daughter Leah bought me for Mother’s Day

sunflower decoration with Azaleas that Leah bought me

sunflower decoration with Azaleas that Leah bought me

peony bush by side of the house

peony bush by the side of the house

purple & white annuals garden

purple & white annuals garden

purple annuals

purple annuals

white annuals

white annuals

fairy decorations

fairy decorations

pink roses

pink roses

flowers to draw butterflies

flowers to draw butterflies

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