Create beauty each day

A pretty breakfast setting
My pretty breakfast setting this morning

“My mother created a beautiful home environment, which helped me to learn how to see and how to live. Writers have to find their own voices. I had to learn how to see. Mother’s innate aesthetic sense affected everything she did. When I think back to the meals we ate together as a family, I remember the fresh flowers on the table, the food attractively arranged on the plate and planned partly with color in mind. To Mother, truth was beauty lived every day. Not only did Mother did me to appreciate beauty by her example, she also taught me an invaluable lesson–the importance of creating beauty each day, and how to do it.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard, Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life

I love beautiful things. In fact, unexpectedly someone told me today that my Facebook posts sometimes remind her of Anne Ortlund, author of Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman. I was shocked, as she was a great woman of God, and her husband Ray was a great man of God. What a huge compliment!

I believe that it’s so important to notice and surround ourselves with beauty every day. A vase of fresh flowers. Fragrant candles or Scentsy warmers. Pretty paintings. Strawberries in a bowl on the kitchen counter. A crystal glass of your fave drink. A hand-made quilt and freshly washed sheets on your bed with fluffy pillows.

A cute coffee mug (maybe with some chocolate!). Lavender bath salts and unique scented shower gels like honeysuckle and jasmine in the bathroom. Soft pillows on couches and loveseats. Happy family photos. A friendly welcome mat at your front or back door and invite friends over and order pizza (or enjoy Ray’s infamous, mouth-watering Cajun chicken on the grill!). 

dolphin Image source: http://www.defenders.org/
dolphin
Image source: http://www.defenders.org/

When you look at creation, you can see that God loves beauty, too. A bright red male cardinal. The moon and stars shining luminously. The glorious rays of the sun. The sound and beauty of the amazing ocean waves, on glistening white sands and the wind blowing through the palm trees. Majestic blue, snow-capped mountains. Orange desert cactus blooming. Sunrises and sunsets, each one different and breath-taking. Dolphins, sharks, stingrays, lions, tigers, black panthers, elephants, zebra, giraffe, kangaroo, wolves, butterflies, kittens, puppies, all that has been created by God with a word.

The Bible tells us to focus on what’s beautiful. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8, KJV

Image resource: Pinterest-woman and coffee
beautiful woman writing with coffee
Image resource: Pinterest

God sees you and me as beautiful. In Song of Solomon 2:14, NLT, it says, “My dove is hiding behind the rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely.”

Our enemy Satan does all he can to mar our beauty and the beauty of this world. From pollution on this earth to pollution in our souls, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10)

He wants our marriages, families, physical bodies, homes, environment, work places, walk with Christ, and attitudes as ugly as possible. He is the author of lies, confusion, and destruction. I was about to Skype my sweet friend last night, when she texted me. “Hold on. Coming. We are having chaos.” In the other room of her house, there were shouting and angry words between her husband and her son. 

happy couple
happy couple

The enemy never stops. He won’t until he’s burning in the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:10) Because he’s so relentless, we as believers in Christ need to do all we can to display God’s beauty and create it in our lives. 

  • We can be beautiful women of God by obeying and serving Him with our time, our resources (such as money, our work, or other physical resources), our spiritual gifts and our lives. As we spend more time with Jesus each day, we become more like Him, by God conforming us into His image. (Romans 8:29)
  • We can bring beauty to our relationships by loving and forgiving others, encouraging them daily, and helping them. Each day we can wipe the slate clean. God’s mercies are new each morning. (Lamentations 3:23)
  • We can make our homes beautiful, a place of safe refuge and comfort, by keeping it clean, organized, and beautifully decorated with the resources we have“I suddenly realized that God’s beautiful Proverbs 31 woman was the sparkling jewel in her husband’s life! She brought the love, the color, the joy, the life, and the energy to the home!” (Elizabeth George, Beautiful in God’s Eyes)
  • We can have an impact on this world and make it beautiful by sharing the good news of Jesus and our powerful testimony. Tell your story with others. Allow God’s anointing to flow through you as an open conduit of His power. (1 John 2:27)
  • We can have a beautiful attitude by being positive and faith-filled, instead of being negative, complaining, criticizing, or being ungrateful. (Philippians 2:14) Ask God to heal any wound in your heart that prevents your utmost, inner beauty from shining forth. 
  • We can visit beautiful places, traveling to new towns, states, and nations, eating new foods, meeting new people, and making new, beautiful memories that last a lifetime. 
  • We can leave a beautiful legacy with our children and grandchildren by fulfilling the calling and purpose God has assigned for our lives, and by showing them Jesus through our godly example.

I want to be a beautiful woman, inside and out, and to surround myself with beauty, don’t you? 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4, NIV

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Promises In The Dark: One Woman's Search for Authentic Love

You can read how God made beauty out of the ashes of my life in my memoir, Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love. Click here to find out more. 

 

 

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A girl can dream

Our beautiful, oldest daughter Heather
Our beautiful daughter Heather

It’s finally spring here in Kansas City, Missouri. The birds are so happy lately, chirping and singing, and my daughter Heather is happy, too, because it’s her favorite time of year. I love it, too. 

The trees that had been gaunt, barren skeletons this winter, stripped of their autumn glory, are now clothed in emerald green leaves. Flowers are blooming: Virginia bluebells, pale-pink geraniums, yellow Black-eyed Susans, white hydrangeas, and one of my favorites, the sunflower.

sunflowers
sunflowers

They’re such a simple thing, but fresh flowers give Heather and me joy. In fact, Heather’s name means a flower, the mauve or white heather plant that is found widely in Europe, usually in late summer. It’s an usually beautiful flower, just like Heather.

heather

This morning the streets were still damp from last night’s rain. The mourning doves were cooing, as I drank my creamy coffee and talked with God

sunflower coffee cup

So many things going on right now. I prayed Psalm 18 over me and my family, especially for Heather and her girls Annabelle and Violet, who were coughing badly last night. Heather went through a painful divorce several years ago and is basically a single mom–the hardest job in the world. I was one with Heather for nearly 10 years. Heather has important projects this week, so she can’t afford time off.

Annabelle & Violet
Annabelle & Violet

So I pray for them: “The Lord thundered from heaven, And the most High uttered His voice. Hailstones and coals of fire, He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, Lightnings and in abundance, and He vanquished them.” Please pray complete, speedy healing for them.

Our beautiful daughter Leah
Our beautiful daughter Leah

Our beautiful daughter Leah is continuing to practice her violin and her art, and is now looking for her first job. Please pray God’s favor upon her to get the right job, and courage for her to apply and at interviews. 

This morning I quickly glanced through my avalanche of emails; it’s time to clean it out and delete, delete, delete, and unsubscribe (again!) from newsletters I don’t even read. Time’s a’wastin’, as Joaquin and Reese sang in Walk the Line. I love the advice to apply the 4 D’s to email as soon as you get it: do right now, delegate it to the right person, defer (by adding to a to-do list, for example), or delete it. 

Your time is gold. I’m hearing about more sudden deaths lately, especially with younger people, and Ray is seeing a lot more deaths lately at his work as a paramedic; yesterday three patients died on his calls, which is unusual as Ray usually saves lives. I believe these unexpected deaths are because it’s the end times. Jesus is coming back soon, and we need to be ready to face God at any time.

My husband Ray at work
My husband Ray at work

One of the emails I saw today was from Home-Away with beach rental houses for a bargain. A girl can dream, right? Ray and I both desperately need a vacation.

Beth Jones on Jacksonville, FL beach
Beth Jones on Jacksonville, FL beach

I love the ocean. When I was growing up, my family went to the beach every summer for a vacation: Jekyll Island seemed to be the most common spot, since my dad’s Civitan Club conventions were held there. We also went frequently to Daytona Beach and even the gulf, Panama City. 

Pat & Kim Weber & their adopted Chinese baby Hadassah
Pat & Kim Weber & their adopted Chinese baby Hadassah

Several years ago, I visited my friends Pat and Kim Weber and their family in Jacksonville, Florida, where I tried boogie boarding for the first time at that beach. It was a blast!

Me in the Bahamas
Me in the Bahamas

The most beautiful ocean and beach I’ve ever seen were in the Bahamas, when I spoke at Tony Robinson‘s Women of Destiny conference on a cruise ship to the Bahamas.

Coconut shrimp at Grand Turk
Coconut shrimp at Grand Turk
Pina Colada
Pina Colada

The water is an exquisite blue-green and so clear, and the sand a soft white with no shells or rocks to hurt your feet. It was truly like paradise. When I ate coconut shrimp, drinking a pina colada with a little umbrella in it, I thought, “It doesn’t get any better than this!”

The beach is calling my name!

But work calls, too. This week I’m working on a new book, the second book in my Storm Tossed fiction series, entitled Afflicted. The main character, Rachel, gets kidnapped while on a mission trip in Africa. This book was inspired by the powerful story of missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham, In The Presence of My Enemies, but will take place in the Congo in Africa instead of the Philippines.

In The Presence Of My Enemies

I have written several chapters and already have the image for the cover from Istock, where I usually buy images for my book covers. (You can be the first to hear about the new book’s release by signing up here at my website on the right-hand side at the top of the page.)

Karen Wells, Doreen Penner, Beth Jones
Karen Wells
Doreen Penner
Beth Jones

I just spoke at a virtual event with my peers Doreen Penner and Karen Wells, Walk Free Summit. We’re working on creating a bundle product of audios and handouts from our speaking presentations at the event. Stay tuned for details!

That’s about it for now. How has your week been? What are you up to? Leave your comments below.

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What is obedience?

What is obedience to God? I learned this from the leaders Roger and Laureen Traver at the Moumtaintop Ministries marriage retreat in Kansas City, Kansas, this weekend with my husband Ray, which I’m going to blog about this week.

I thought what they said was powerful and true, so I made a graphic from it at Canva.

Obedience is…

Obedience

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