Image: Edward Cisneros @ Unsplash
My husband Ray and I have been looking for a new church home for years. I’m excited about the new church that we’ve been attending, Hope City Church of Harrisonville, Missouri. Why? We’re among the 1/3 of people who used to attend church, but now stay away specifically because they “lost trust in God, the church, or Christians.” (According to a 2019 “Unchurched Report” by Billy Graham Center Institute and Lifeway Research, You Found Me, Rich Richardson, p. 47)
Image: Julian Florez at Unsplash
It’s a startling and scary fact that the number of youth (Americans ages 18-29) who have no religious affiliation has nearly quadrupled in the last 30 years, and 59% of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.
There are several reasons that Ray and I and our children were wounded that I won’t go into here, but we’ve had to walk through a LOT of forgiveness. Unfortunately, there are many people in the same boat. My hope is that this new church will be a safe haven for us of God’s agape (unconditional) love, truth, and forgiveness; that we can make new friends; and that we’ll be able to serve in the Body of Christ and use our spiritual gifts, talents, and skills for God’s glory there.
How is your summer going so far? Did you take a vacation or staycation or are you planning one for off-season?
Destin beach, Florida
I’m still praying to go back to Destin, Florida this year! The beach is my place of peace and refilling. God can make a way!
Our cat Silas
If you are a family member or a friend or you’re a subscriber on my website’s email list (for my newsletter and most recent updates), you know that I recently took in a stray cat. His name is Silas. I wrote a blog post about his story here.
Our new cat Silas
I also created a vlog about his recent surgery and other things here on my YouTube Channel. (Subscribe to get my newest vlogs and videos.) Silas is doing well since his surgery. He eats like a horse! He and my adopted black cat (she also has green eyes) still fight occasionally, but they also play and chase each other.
His loud yowling (the male mating call) and meowing have drastically decreased since he was neutered, and he doesn’t usually try to mate with Natalya. I couldn’t believe that he was trying to mate with her, even though she’s spayed and wasn’t in heat, but my husband Ray said it was just his instincts.
My prayer is that they can now become best friends! One day I came into our front entry room and they were both laying on the loveseat together. It was SO cute! It gave me hope that they can become pals!
Silas and Natalya laying on the loveseat
Silas and Natalya playing on the carpet together
Yesterday was my birthday. My husband Ray’s gift to me was my recent week-long trip to Destin beach, Florida for a week alone (August 15-22, 2022). I’ve been praying for over 3 years to travel there. One day I found a reduced plane fare online and Ray said, “Book it!” so I did immediately!
Destin beach is gorgeous with soft, white sand and clear, blue-green water. I desperately needed this time of relaxation on the beach and to work on my speaking and writing biz. You can see my recent vlog, My Happy Place, here at YouTube. It is my 11th vlog about the trip.
Destin beach, Florida
Beth Jones, Destin beach
Ray also gave me a pretty card with a Starbucks gift card and took me out for supper to a Japanese restaurant in Lee’s Summit, MO, called Siki.
We got dressed up to go out, a rare occasion. I found a pretty teal, inexpensive dress on Amazon and an elegant but cheap necklace and earrings from Paparazzi. I already had my bracelet and black shoes with a slight heel. The dress had high reviews on Amazon and was soft and comfortable. Ray wore a charcoal-grey, button-up shirt and beige slacks.
My teal birthday dress and Paparazzi jewelry
Ray in charcoal-grey shirt and beige slacks
We had a nice, funny chef who cooked us delicious food.
Chef at Siki restaurant
He couldn’t put on the usual great show of fire, because there was a toddler girl there at the hibachi table, who screamed and cried when he first made the flames appear. I’m sure this was a disappointment to the chef. Everyone else at the table was related to her, so they understood. Ray and I are parents so we got it, too. We remember those days! They grow up so fast!