Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Fun Bloggy Game

Hi friend!

Every one likes to play games right? There are board games, party games, baby shower and bridal shower games. I remember some fun games from way back in the day that at Tupperware and Longaberger parties.

I've recently started following a blog written by a sweet gal named Melanie. She's written a couple of posts lately that remind me of the fun party games we play to get acquainted.  I'm not trying to steal her cute game idea. But, if you want to play along go on over to where she writes at   Only A Breath  and join in the fun.
{of course if you'd like to leave me a comment I wouldn't mind and I'm pretty sure Melanie won't either}

It's just that I've enjoyed the process and wanted to share the fun with you.
So here is a copy of my comment (with typos edited) to Melanie's prompts ~

Hi Melanie!
I love that you are gonna do this every now and than!

The best thing about 2011 was ~ me and hubby getting away for a whole week to Siesta Key. My aunt let us stay in her condo right across from the beach. We hadn’t been on any kind of vacation in seven years. We were so blessed the whole week with beautiful weather, just relaxing and spending time together.

In 2012 I would really love to:

1. start a small biz ( etsy, consign at shops in town, etc) selling quilts, pillows, and decoupaged items that I create

2. go to Siesta Key for vacation again (only if we have someone to puppy sit for us)

3. pay off our charge card debt

2012 is the year I stop ~
Oh where do I begin…… and what would I really want to write down and document in bloggy land…… ummmmm ….. how about I just think on this one a bit more. *wink*

2012 is the year I start ~
Oh where do I begin….. eating healthy, walking, blogging regularly, reading my Bible more, better church attendance, intentionally developing friendships…. yikes! if I keep going I’m really gonna sound like an unhealthy, lazy, backsliding hermit.

If I get a wild hair, I might just ~ apply for Wheel of Fortune in 2012. Yea, I know that may not seem very “wild” I guess. But I’d have to fly to CA and I hate to fly. I hate to fail and what if I got all “bankrupts” and the trip out there would cost more than I’d win. Oh my, what a risk.

So there you have it – hope it’s not TMI and I don’t seem too silly. I’m just being real and being myself.
BTW – I’ve never heard the expression “get a wild hair”. At first I was thinking of a wild gray hair that you just yank out. lol

Hope you and your family have a blessed New Year!!!
Debbie G

Well, friend hope this has been informative as well as a bit entertaining. If you want to get the full experience go on over to Only A Breath. 

Hoping you too have a blessed New Year! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It Is Enough

My most precious gift this year has been experiencing the grace of God.
This Christmas season I'm able to testify that:  His grace is enough!

These past ten days I've been sick with a head cold that kinda kicked my butt for a few days. When  I'm not 100% physically (whether overtired or sick or whatever) it makes it more difficult emotionally to stay joyful and have hope. Do you know what I mean?

So, with this being our first Christmas without my daddy here I was not in a holiday mood. In fact, about four days before Christmas I told hubby I only wanted two things this year:
1- to feel better
2 - to not bother celebrating Christmas

That second one sounds pretty horrible for someone who is a Christian doesn't it? I mean Christmas is one of two very special times we celebrate our Christian faith each year.

I was just having such a hard time imagining us around our table Christmas day without my daddy being there.......
In his red shirt.
Enjoying the turkey {no gravy}.
Teasing me about how I made the mashed potatoes.

There would be five instead of six.
This was gonna be so very hard for all of us.

Anyways, four days ago I posted on Facebook how I was feeling. How I wasn't even gonna make the homemade applesauce that daddy liked so much. Nope, not this year. Kinda my way of sticking my tongue out at .... well, I guess at "life".

But friend guess what!?

Soon after posting on Facebook I had friends praying for me and my family. And soon after they started praying I started to feel some better about Christmas. The next day I was feeling like the head cold wasn't beating me up any longer. By Friday evening me and hubby went to the mall and had a nice time doing a little shopping.

We called my mom on our way down to the mall and she mentioned how she was having a difficult time of it, especially during the beginning of the week. But, how by Friday she was feeling, for lack of a better way of explaining it - numb.

It wasn't until Saturday when she said it again that I remembered what a friend told me at my son's memorial service. She said she was praying for God's anesthesia to carry me through those first days. She had asked Him that so I wouldn't feel the terrible, crushing pain of my loss until I was ready to start healing.

It dawned on me - what does anesthesia do? It puts you to sleep or makes you numb.
Wow, it was God's grace protecting mom from the feelings of deep pain and sadness this first Christmas without daddy. To her it felt like a "numbness". Not a bad feeling, but kinda strange and not what she had expected.

Today is Christmas. It's been a good day. We - the five of us - were together for a delicious turkey dinner. No tears, well, almost a few once or twice. And I tried to talk louder when a Christmas song {we were playing some background music as we ate}came on about "missing you this Christmas".  {dumb song}And I had counted out six napkins while setting the table.

But, really, it was a very nice afternoon.....
We exchanged gifts.
We laughed & smiled.
We even had a few silly moments.
We still took our yearly Christmas pictures.

We felt God's grace getting us through what could have been a very sad and emotional day.

And even though....
We missed him.
We missed his teasing and making us laugh.
We missed not being able to give him a gift and get a hug in return.

We did make it through the day.
All because His Grace truly is enough.

So friend, I'm wishing you an abundance of Christmas blessings-
laughter, family, hope and joy.

And may you find His grace to be enough this coming year.

BTW~ I know it's been quite a while since I've spent anytime here at my little blog. So very sorry about that. My plan is to get started posting again much more regularly after the first of the year.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My God-sized Dream

Yikes! This is a scary one friend. Not my dream.... the topic.... and even scarier is putting it out there. I mean will others think my dream is crazy?

However, I've just started to link up on Thursdays with Bonnie at her Faith Barista Jam and "My God-sized Dream" is the topic for this week.


I thought about just writing something general about how our deepest desires may just be a God-sized dream planted in our heart by God himself.

Or I could have "called in sick" and not even posted.

Since, I'm not one to shy away from a challenge, I'm gonna give it a try. Plus, I really like the fact that when I write and share with you here in bloggy land it seems that by the time I hit "publish post" I see things differently and clearer.

Here I go - I'm jumping in on this week's Jam session!

My God-sized dream plain and simple: I have a dream to sell items that I quilt - on Etsy - to make money - to help orphans. 

Simple enough?  Well, yes and no.

In the last couple of years we've tried two different home based businesses. Both of them in the end have cost us more than we've made. So, I just don't have a lot of confidence in making extra money outside of a "regular" job. {which I already have}

What it comes down to is I have a desire to help orphans and those who are adopting. I even have a plan on how to make the money. It's the actual success of it all working out that I feel will be very God-sized. And makes me say "Yikes" for the second time in one post.

My plan is to sew and sell Raggedy items. There will be rag quilts, rag pillows, inspirational wall hangings and coasters. Maybe even window valences. I've also started creating a pattern for a raggedy teddy bear. Too cute!

I already have an Etsy site. {easy} I already have a second blog about my desire to help orphans. {easy}  I've even made two quilts and two wall hangings for gifts. {easy and fun}   I guess now I really need to get sewing. {easy and time consuming} And then putting items on Etsy. {should be easy} And letting family and friends know. {easy} And then waiting {hard} to see if it's gonna "happen" - if my God-sized dream will become a reality.

Just wait a minute. Back-up.

Let's focus on that one "hard" thing :
Will it work out?
Is God putting this desire in my heart?
Will all of the work bring me to my goal of helping orphans?
Will I be able to persevere and not give up?
Will anyone even want to buy anything?

Now I see it! Do you? It's not the waiting that's so hard! It's the possibility of failing. Again.
{wanna say "yikes" one more time, but I'll refrain}

I don't want to put all that time, effort and hope in this God-sized dream and have it fail.
Yea, well what can I say? Us perfectionist type people don't like to get it wrong.

But, I figure now that I realize what I'm really scared of I can deal with it a whole lot better. One more step in growing my faith and trust. And that's a good thing.

And if by chance it doesn't work out I guess there will be a lot of Raggedy gifts under the Christmas tree this year. Oh dear! That just gave me another idea - a Raggedy tree skirt. How cool is that!?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Snapshot With Words

Hi friend, once again thanks for stopping by.

Being that today is Father's Day I thought I'd post for you what I had written and shared at my daddy's memorial service back in April.

Richard A. Strouse was my dad.

I affectionately called him : "daddy boys" I don't know why or when I started calling him that. But, it was a special name between him and me. No one else called him that.

The nickname he called me since I was very little was - "Deb do". You see me being a bit independent and stubborn, like my dad, I didn't want help. If I was having trouble doing something, and mom or dad would offer to help, I'd say: "Deb do, Deb do it".

My daddy was my first boyfriend. When I was a little girl, like most little girls, I loved my daddy the most in the whole world. He was my knight in shining armor and in my eyes he could do anything.

I have so many sweet memories of my dad....... things we shared that I'll cherish forever. There is no way I can share them all. Many of them are like little snapshots in my mind  of something he did, or said or times we spent together.

A few things I do want to share with you all about my daddy are:
- he was a hard worker
- he was a prayer warrior
- he liked to tease and on occasion play a practical joke
- the one thing he valued the most in others was honesty

It really wasn't a good idea to tell him he couldn't do something, because he would do it. Back when we lived in New Jersey he was told that you can't grow azaleas from seed. Oh yes you can..... my dad did it.

Daddy had an answer for everything. The best example I can think of to share is: One day when I was around 12 years old my dad and I were sitting on the front porch. I don't remember our whole conversation. What I do remember is my daddy telling me that:".... too much of anything is not good for you". And me being a lot like my dad had an answer for that. I asked him, "What about water? You can't have too much of that." Oh yea, my daddy
had an answer for even that - "too much water and you drown", was his reply.

He didn't give me and my brother, Ric, every thing we wanted. Nope, I never got the pony I wanted when I was five. But he did make sure we had what we needed and more. The times spent with him and remembering his many good qualities, as well as, how he lived his life are "priceless" memories he has given us.

My daddy had his faults like any other person. He was not perfect, but he was a perfectionist. He would tell me if I was gonna do something- "do it well and do it right the first time".

Daddy took care of his family, he loved us and we always knew we were important to him.

So that is a little snapshot of what my "daddy boys" meant to me, his "Deb do".

Friday, June 17, 2011

This Father's Day

This Father's Day is gonna be different.

It's the first time in 54 years that my daddy is not here for me to wish a "Happy Father's Day" to.

No card to buy that tells him what a great dad he is.
No phone call to tell him I love him.
No visit.
No hug.

Nope not this year. And never again will it be the same as it always has been.

This year will be different.

There will be flowers to bring to his grave site.
There will be an empty place in my heart.
There will be tears.

I'll miss my daddy a little more than I do every other day since he went home to heaven.

And I ask myself a question that I've been asking a lot lately, "Where is the Hope & Joy in all of this?"

I feel a wee bit guilty about feeling this way.
I mean I realize I have the "hope" of seeing him again one day when I move on to my heavenly home. And of course, I have the "joy" knowing that he is healthy and pain free.

But friends, right here and right now, during the last two months that's all been very nice, but almost not enough. Maybe it should be. And maybe it's just the fact that missing my daddy stirs up those "missing my Kyle" feelings. It's just really hard missing two people so very much.

So, this Father's Day I will honor my daddy's memory -  with flowers, tears and "I love you" whispered in my heart. 

And this Father's Day I will also honor my heavenly Father. Even in the hard stuff I will continue to trust, believe and love Him with all my heart.  I'll whisper a prayer of thankfulness for giving me such a wonderful daddy.

Hey friend I just wanted you to know -
I'm adding this post to Bonnie's Faith Jam over at Faith Barista. Why don't you take a minute and swing by.


Friday, May 27, 2011

A $50.00 Lesson Of Grace

So, I asked for it and I got it.
I had been asking the Lord to show me an example of grace in my life.

I had my definition for grace all ready to share:
grace = getting what you don't deserve; unmerited favor

Now all I needed was a clever example.

Let me back up a bit though.

Recently, over at 29 Lincoln Avenue , Stacey held a giveaway.  She was giving away an art print by Dee at Red Letter Words . The print was covered with portions of  Bible verses about Grace. I wasn't gonna enter because.... yep, you guessed it - "I never win anything". But, I really, really liked it. The bits of verses Dee used on this print are some of my favorites. So, I left a comment -  just in case, maybe this time, I'd win.

Well what do you know!
A few days later I got an email from Stacey saying: "Congratulations! "
I had won!

Now, this is where my praying for an example of grace comes in.

I had almost all I needed for a great post .....
... Topic for my post 
... Thank Stacey
... Let you know about Red Letter Words

All that was left was an example of grace.
Something personal I could share.
Perhaps a wonderful way I extended grace to someone else.

Ready? Here we go - grace - keeping it real and being honest.

A few weeks ago hubby wanted to spend extra money for a Wii system. He had saved up almost the total amount needed and now they were on sale. So, I extended grace to my wonderful husband and said very sweetly and lovingly  "Go ahead and get it babe. Don't worry about the extra $50.00. In fact, go out tomorrow and buy it". 

Ummm .... well .... no.
That's not what I said. 
{but I wish it was}

Truthfully, I explained to him, not very calmly or sweetly, that we didn't have the extra money. Our car lease, that he is very well aware of, will be ending soon and we needed to save all we could for another car. Not to mention that we were only half way through the month and blah blah our budget blah blah and weren't we trying to pay off our credit cards.....

He walked away, in the middle of my detailed, RANT explanation and let the dog out. Oh well, I was right and he knew it. If just in case he didn't, I was sure the my cool attitude towards him the rest of the evening would help him realize how wrong he was.

I mean how childish and selfish!
Ummm... I was thinking him and not me.
{bet that's not what you're thinking}

OK, and moving on.

Anyways, just a few days ago I was out with my mom. I had just finished sewing my first rag quilt the day before. It turned out pretty good.  We agreed that it would be great for me to sew another quilt and we could give it to a mutual friend who is having a baby boy. While we were out we stopped by a fabric store. We picked out some of the prettiest fabric for the quilt.  We decided we'd split the cost of the fabrics, thread and flannel material.

Silly us! We were very excited about the pretty fabric and how it all matched so nicely. We kept agreeing how much fun we were having. We were happily thinking how much our friend would like the quilt. And in all our happy excitement we simply didn't check the price of each yard of fabric. Because this was a spur of the moment trip to the store I didn't bring my quilt info with me. I found out when I got home we got at least twice the amount that we needed.

When we got to the register both of us were shocked at the cost of our purchase. I felt maybe a little sick too, but that could have been that it was way past lunch time.

Almost done with my story. Hope you're still with me friend.

When I got home I had to tell hubby what had happened at the fabric store. So I brought him a strawberry banana smoothie from McDonald's and told him we needed to talk. 

After I had explained what I had done he said, "What is done is done. Please don't do this again - next time think before you do things".
{meaning: listen to my head and not my heart - I take after mom for that}
"No, I'm not mad at you." "I love you."

Even though I knew that this is how he'd probably react (even if I didn't bring him a smoothie),  I couldn't help but feel undeserving of his grace.

After the way I had reacted to him? No, I didn't deserve it.
After the way I had treated him? Didn't deserve it. 

Even though I had apologized to him and felt awful about it,  I still felt undeserving of his love and grace.

But, isn't that what grace is all about?  Yep, it's getting what you don't deserve.

So to sum it up .....

Being on the receiving end of grace given is pretty great. It made me feel loved, as well as, thankful for the wonderful hubby God has given me.

My "$50.00 Lesson of Grace" was not what I expected, yet it's a lesson I won't forget.
{hoping that next time I ask the Lord for an example I can get to be the "good guy" }

Hey friend, hope you'll extend some grace to me and not judge me for my less than gracious attitude toward hubby. I'm a work in progress. He understands that and so does Jesus. And believe me I'm so glad they do.

Aren't we all a work in progress? That's one reason why it's very important that we remember to give grace to each other.

Today my Grace print came in the mail.  I love it's message of grace!
{thanks Stacey and Dee}
And today hubby went out and bought his Wii game. 
{thanks mom for your gracious gift so he'd have enough to buy it}

Oh, and the amount that I needed to pay for my half of the material?
Yea, $50.00. Pretty ironic huh?!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Two Weeks Ago

Two weeks ago today.... daddy had been home from rehab for two weeks.
For two whole weeks mom got to have him home by her.
At times it was so very hard and tiring. But, she did it.
He was happy to be home by mom.
Even though he was in pain and had other health issues.

Two weeks ago tomorrow.... daddy went "home" to heaven.
For two whole weeks we've missed him.
It's been so hard and tiring. But, we've done the things we needed to do.
We know he is happy to be "home" by Jesus.
Now, there's no more pain. He can walk straight and see clearly.

Two whole weeks -
It feels like I've lived a month in the last two weeks.
Yet, in some ways it feels like half the time. 
So weird how that happens.

I guess for awhile I'll be measuring time by how long it's been since daddy went home.
Since he went home to heaven and is ok now and happy.
As he would say: he's "okie dokie".

Sunday, April 17, 2011

4/17/11 {a look back at 4/16/11}

Hey friend..... this is not my usual type of post. But, I can't sleep and am thinking. I'm sitting here sorting out my memories and feelings from yesterday. Somehow, to write it out just seems like a good idea.  I usually try to write for you friend, but this time it's for me.  Hope you don't mind.

Today is Sunday.
Today is the day after my daddy died.

Right now I can't sleep.
Right now is 25 hours since we rushed over to mommy & daddy's house at 5:30 AM.

How many times did I scream "NO!" "NO, NOT MY DADDY" while getting dressed.
How many times did I think "I can't believe this".

Phone calls I made:  to my brother, to my boss, to my friends.
Phone calls mom made: to her pastor, to daddy's sister, to friends.

Lists of things to do.
Lists of things to remember.
Lists of more people to call on Monday.

Remembering, missing him, disbelief.
Tears, laughter, silence, planning.
Regrets, thankfulness, hope.
No concept of time.
Hard to focus.

And through it all He held us, comforted us, gave us His peace.
And through it all others prayed, spoke words of love, gave hugs.

This is so very hard. However ......
.... we can do hard.
.... we will be OK.
.... we will see daddy again one day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wheelie While You Wait

On my way to work one recent Friday,  I saw a boy, about nine years old, waiting at the bus stop. As I got closer he started down the sidewalk on a pair of those shoes that have wheels in the heels - wheelie shoes. He had dropped his backpack to not be encumbered or slowed down I'm sure. Away he went running a few steps and than up on only the heels of his wheelies and he was flying down the sidewalk.

As I passed by I noticed he was smiling, pumping his arms in the air and enjoying life as he sailed down the sidewalk. In my rear view mirror I saw him turn around and head back to where he had left his backpack.

I really felt like there was a little thought here that the Lord wanted to speak to my heart about.  A little illustration with a meaning. Kinda like a parable. I thought I'd go ahead and share it with you friend.

The illustration:
That boy was enjoying the wait. He really was! That big smile and the freedom he showed sailing down the sidewalk were evidence that he was not worrying about if the bus would come. Not dreading the 20 word weekly spelling test that's usually given on Fridays. He was, for that moment, just plain enjoying life.

The problem:
Right now my daddy is in the hospital. We don't have a definitive diagnosis. The next few days are a bit uncertain. We'll be waiting for the doctor's "ok" to have him  transported to rehab. And most probably after that, after "testing" ( PT & OT) there's a good chance he will not be going home by mom.

The lesson:
Enjoy the wait!  Drop those cares right there. Enjoy a few  moments with freedom and joy!  Smile, pump your arms, and than head back to the spot where you left those things of life that need to be taken care of.

The plan:
Well, yea, I am the OFP (Official Family Planner) so you had to expect I'd have a plan. {This one is inspired by the Lord using a young boy and shoes with wheels in their heels.}

For me, to "wheelie while I wait" will  look something like -
~ first thing I'm gonna do is drop my cares at the feet of Jesus to not be encumbered.
~ I'm gonna enjoy each moment I have with my daddy. Whether he is aware I'm there or not.
~ share my concerns with hubby. He always knows what to say to encourage & comfort me.
~ have a few extra mocha lattes (my version of fist pumping).

So, how about you friend?
Do you have something in your life that you are encumbered by? Something weighing you down?

Just take a little running start, pump your arms in the air and enjoy life. Even if it's for just a minute - go ahead and try it.

I guess the meaning of this little "parable" is: while you're waiting for things to change, for answers or for help to come..... enjoy the moments you are given and "wheelie while you wait".

BTW ~ This post was actually written about a month ago. After nine days in the hospital and a couple of weeks in rehab my dad is back home.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Little Awkward

Well, this is a little, ummm, awkward.

I had a give-away and nobody came.

Not sure what to make of it ....... hmmm,

Let's make a list:
.... don't want to make more of my non-giveaway than what it is.
.... never considered myself a "real" writer.
.... love to blog! Enjoy the whole process of sharing lessons learned, connecting with others
and hopefully being an encouragement.
.... been thinking that virtual community - blog land or Facebook - don't satisfy like real
in-the-flesh community.

So, what to do??

For now, I'll keep writing and sharing .....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Face-lift Is Complete So Let's Celebrate

Yea! My blog's "face-lift" is complete!
Today I have some news, thank yous and a give-away to share.

First of all - I'm soooo thankful to Sweet Shoppe Designs for their beautiful "blog-lift" kits. I really tried creating my own header, button, and background from scratch using tutorials that I found online. I just couldn't get the size right, or the drop shadow, or whatever. The whole polished and professional look I was going for was not happening. And I was spending hours trying to make it work. Then I found  Sweet Shoppe Designs. Woo Hoo!  They have blog face-lift kits (and a whole lot more).  I personalized things a bit and now am so happy with my new look. So pretty! {fyi ~ I'm not getting paid or anything for this bit of praising Sweet Shoppe Designs; just feel it's good to give credit where credit is due and that they are fabulous}

Before going any further, I need to also say how very wonderful hubby has been as I've spent time gazing at my blog and not into his beautiful green eyes. Thanks babe! You're the best!  Guess I owe you some together sports watching time, huh?

Part of the process of redesigning the look here at "Finding Hope & Joy" was done in conjunction with the creation of my new space in blog land. Yea!  It's called "Miss Maribel's Place".  When you get a chance I'd love for you stop by for a little visit.

So, let's see - that's two thank yous and one announcement.

Now one more thing ...... the celebrating!
I had planned to have a give-away at the one year anniversary of my little blog. However, the makeover, starting Miss Maribel's Place and life has made me push it off a couple of months. But, now it's time!

Here are the details:

Because I'm so excited about another giveaway and about the grand opening of Miss Maribel's Place I'm giving you two chances to win this beautiful perpetual desk calendar: 

She Lives She Loves She Laughs

#1: Simply take a look at my blog posts over the last year (there's only 31). Just leave me a comment - back here on this post -  telling me which you liked the best & why.  Now I realize life is busy and you may not have the time to go through all of my posts, so here are a few of my favorites....  

My top three posts from 2010:
 ~ I Still Believe
~ Running Ahead
~ Lead, Guide or Walk Beside

    * I'll share with you why they have a special meaning to me in my next post *

#2: Visit me over at Miss Maribel's Place and leave me a comment there. It'll be like writing in my guest book at my blog's open house.     

     * I've tried to make it easy for you {cause I love ya and am helpful like that} - 
          so you can click on the highlighted links to get to:
         each of my three favs, Miss Maribel's Place and even Sweet Shoppe Designs *


Leave your comments by midnight Friday, March 25th. The winner will be picked randomly and announced here at Finding Hope & Joy on  Sunday, March 27th.

Here's a snapshot of today's calendar page:

The Lord will work out His plans for my life-
for your loving-kindness, Lord, continues forever.
Psalm 138:8

Hope to hear from you sometime this week friend! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Please Excuse the Mess

So, I guess you've noticed that my blog design has become a bit of a mess.

You see,  I'm trying to redo my blog design. It's a lot of fun. Just love the creativeness I get going.  However, it takes a lot of time since I'm doing a lot of the designing by trial & error.

I hate that it doesn't look very presentable for guests right now. It's like having company drop by when you're still in your jammies and haven't combed your hair. Not a nice feeling. 

I'm trying and retrying.  And I'm trying not to pull my hair out.  *giggle*

So friend, please excuse the mess while I redress my little blog.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Two Old + One New = Three Just Right

In the near future I'll be attempting a complete make-over of my blog home here at Finding Hope & Joy.   I've found the cutest paper, buttons and ribbons.  I've also discovered some very helpful sites with awesome tutorials.

I love to redecorate and be creative!

As I've been planning what I want to change I've been trying to think of a catchy "tag line" for my header.  Really can't think of one. I think it's because I can't say anything in just a few words (that whole "gift of gab" thing I suffer from). Plus, there's also the creative brain freeze that sometimes happens to me when writing.

And so I've decided to use this Bible verse:

"May the God of hope fill you with
all joy and peace as you trust in Him."
Romans 15:13

So what do you think?  I'm thinking it really expresses what the purpose of my blog has become..... for me and hopefully for those who stop by and visit. This new verse will be a sweet greeting on my blog home's front porch.

After I decided that this verse would work and I took a closer look I was amazed at three words that fit together just right.

Do you see the two "old" words? They're the two words that are all about why I started to blog.

There's Hope and than there's Joy.  These are two things that were being renewed in my life after my journey through grief. The changes the Lord was starting in me a year ago are what gave me the desire to record and share them here.

But it was that one "new" word that suddenly caught my eye and made me smile .... Trust.

You see trust  is my "One Word for 2011".  The word that I picked to write about, but just couldn't figure out what to write. I just kinda gave up on this whole One Word thing here in blog land.  Hmmmm, guess I was a little too quick on that.

So friend, I'll be writing about my "One Word for 2011" after all as I share how the Lord weaves hope, joy & trust together in my life.

Now, I have three words that are just right for my make-over. And three special words to greet you each time you stop by to visit.

Pretty cool, don't ya think?!

BTW ~ Since a year ago I didn't even know what HTML was, this whole redo may take a little while. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

To Thine Own Self......

I just can't do it.  I can't pick my word.  My "One Word for 2011".  Nope it's not gonna happen.

It's not that I can't think of some good words. It's not like I can't think of some areas in my life that need to change. And I really did want to play along here in blog land. Maybe even link up with another blogger who is week by week featuring our words.


The truth is I had a word. Even made a cute acrostic for it. But than I felt like it wasn't the right word. So, I chose another one. No cute acrostic to go with this one.  And no problem there, I was going to ask you for acrostic ideas. Some of you were very clever doing this when you made comments for my give-away last year.

However, for the past week I have tried a number of times to write about my word. Last night after sitting here again - for almost an hour - I stopped and shared with hubby my frustration.

His thinking was to stop blogging. So ummm yea, he still doesn't get this whole blog land thing I've been enjoying.

After praying about it a bit I realized what my problem was. Once I knew that, it was easy to figure out the solution. I simply need to: be true to myself!

When I do that I also stay true to my purpose in sharing here at "Finding Hope & Joy". I realize now that that's when it's been the easiest to write. I really enjoy sharing with you about the lessons learned, goofs by silly me and even the pain as I live out my life's story. In some ways it's like sitting down and chatting with a friend.

You see,  I'm not a writer. Never have been. I didn't like creative writing in high school. Give me a topic to write on and forget it - literally. I get brain freeze. Not the kind I get from those yummy frozen frappe drinks. Nope, I just can't figure out what I want to say or how to say it. Pretty funny don't ya think - for someone who has the "gift of gab"?! 

Before I left for work this morning I had some extra time so I sat down to write share with you what I had discovered last night. I've now spent another maybe thirty minutes and am almost finished. No frustration. No wondering if what I'm saying is ok. 

Just sitting here with - yep,you guessed it: a warm cup of mocha flavored coffee.  And you friend! Ahhh {big sigh}... this is what Finding Hope & Joy is supposed to be about.

One more thing..... I'm wondering if you ever get caught up with something others are doing? And try it even if it's not something you'd normally enjoy.... and keep trying even if you get frustrated doing it?  (please tell me I'm not the only one) If you do, well, all I can say to that is: to thine own self be true.

Just be the you God created you to be!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's a Random Beginning

Hi friend, yep it's really me. So sorry I've been slacking with my posting. It doesn't mean I don't have things to chat about with you here in blog land. I guess I just needed a break to get a few other things in life organized and taken care of in general.

Also, I've started a second blog. There is a journey that I've started on that I really want to journal about. I hate regular journaling with pen & paper, but enjoy it here in blog land. So, I love that I can blog this journey - even if it's just for me (at least for now).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
OK friend, since I've missed posting anything for a while (umm like 7.5 weeks) and I don't have a post ready, I hope you won't mind me starting this year with a few random thoughts that were gonna be posts, but  I've realized they really are just.... well, a few random thoughts....

~ This year at Christmas we really cut back on our spending. Our joy was in giving to others. This makes me think that one of God's greatest joys is giving to us.... uh-duh He did give us His Son.

~ You know that excited feeling you get the day before your birthday or on Christmas Eve?  I wish I had that super anticipation kinda feeling every morning when I wake up wondering " is this the day? Is this the day Jesus comes back?". Honestly, I don't but I wish I did.... working on it.

~ Here are a few random thoughts on the previous random thought (this is getting kinda tricky)
* hearing angels singing praises to the Lord will be so much better than hearing Happy Birthday sung to me
* all of the glitter and twinkling lights at Christmas just can't compare to the glory we'll see in heaven!

~ Inner beauty is so much harder to maintain than outer beauty.  The highlights in our hair, plucking the eyebrows (ouchie), tummy control jeans and some make-up do the trick nicely as far as outer beauty goes.  But, to have inner beauty it's stuff like - keeping the sarcasm to a minimum, not joining in the office gossip, and keeping all the "selfs" .... self-pity, selfishness, self-centerness under control.  And that's work, but by God's grace it's possible.

And here are a few one liners that I found  in my blog folder. I jot these things down any time, any place and  from various sources..... at church, at home, at work, in bed.....things I've read, church sermons, devotionals, blogs, church signs or just thoughts/feelings that I may want to explore and write more about.

~ "God is in all the details of my life.... the little, the big and the in-between"
That day I needed to be reminded that God cares about those in-between, everyday type things.

~ "God doesn't give explanations. He gives promises." 
I'm standing on His promises daily! And I know I don't get to have all the questions answered.

~ "Having a broken heart stinks"
Aah yea, guess I was having a "missing my Kyle" kinda day. Than I'm reminded that "the Lord is close to the brokenhearted" and I'm comforted.

~ "My plan vs God's provision"
As I plan our budget each month I really plan it with a capital P.  The Lord is showing me it's His provision - not my plan - and to just chill out a little.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

By now you know that I love to plan and make lists. Which means I do have a few things on my "blog idea" list to share with you and chat about as I begin the new year and my second year of blogging.

So, I'm thinking my first new post should be my "One Word for 2011".  I've seen a few other bloggers doing this and I'll just join in this blog land fun. I figure as long as I get it posted before February it will still be ok...  don't want to break any blog land rules.

Looking forward to another year.... with Jesus and you!