Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Doing a Little Happy Dance

Hey there friend!!

Who's doing a little happy dance??

This gal right here!

So wanna guess why? Sure you do.

Hint: something is new on my sidebar

No, not that... Silly! I still believe!

Nooooo... I haven't had another birthday. I'm still Ahem "50-something".

Guess again! Go ahead guess! {jumping up and down now}

Nope..... still been married 40 years to my wonderful hubby. Although in one week I will have to change that to 41 years. Yay!

                                      Keep looking... 

Oh I can't stand it! Tell me you see it!

Yep! I'm a contributor to the Five Minute Friday book
that just launched yesterday.

Want your own copy? Grab your copy here!

All profits from the book will be divided equally between two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe!

HUGE Thank You to Susan Shipe who came up with this great idea and worked so hard to make the dream come true.

And another BIG Thank You to Kate Motaung who hosts our Five Minute Friday Fun Nights each week in bloggy land.

I ordered my book tonight and can't wait to get it in my happy little hands.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Five Minute Friday Fun: Listen

Hi friend!

What day is it?
It's Friday!

And what does that mean?
It's time to party and have us some 5 Minute Friday fun! 

The party is at Kate's place in blog land. It's a linky party / blogger flash mob / free writing exercise. Whatever you want to call it, I say it's just plain fun - blog land style.

Everyone spends five minutes writing on the same topic. The truly fun part is that you write with freedom. There's no emphasis on grammar or spelling. Punctuation is also worry free {yay! 'cause I love me a bunch of commas when I write}. Pretty much the only "rule" is that you visit the blog of the person who linked up before you and leave some encouragement. 

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!


How does she do it?
How does she hear when I don't say the words?
How does she just know that there's something "up with me" as she puts it?

I guess it must be because she knows me in a way no other person on this earth does. Our hearts beat together for 9 months or so {not sure when a baby's heart starts to beat and hey I only have five minutes to write this out so no time to look it up} before I even came into this world.

Moms have a way of "hearing" their children even when there are no words said.

And that's the thing that is so amazing to me - she somehow just seems to know.

I've come to the conclusion that it must be because she doesn't just listen with her ears.

She listens with her heart.

And she knows....
... when I'm stressed
... when I'm sad
... when I've had a great day
... when I'm thoughtful or pensive
... when I'm content.

And when I'm finally ready to share? That's when she listens with her ears.

Then it's my turn to listen.

And she speaks....
... hope and love 
... of faith in the great and good God we both love
... encouragement and wisdom
... joy and more love.

And today I'm thankful for a mom who not only listens with her ears, but also her heart.

and STOP!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Love ya, 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Five Minute Friday Fun: PATH

Hey there friend!

It's been a while since I've been here. After taking the summer off and hitting the Pause Button I'm ready to start back visiting with you here at my place in bloggy land.

I truly hope you'll stop by often.

Especially since I have some very exciting news to share in the next few weeks.

But for now I'm linking up with the Five Minute Friday gang. Thankfully they won't mind me being a day late (again).

 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!


Recently I've begun using Bible verses and praying them. Usually out loud.
Psalm 25:4-5 is one of my favorite verses and a great one to pray.

Oh how I want the Lord to lead me down the path He desires for me.

The path He chooses for me is a path of ...
... joy,
... hope,
... safety,
... contentment,
... and peace.

It is a good path.

It may be a bit rocky at times. 
I might even stub my toe on a big old rock.
But, I know He holds my hand and won't let me slip.

It may get pretty steep.
Sometimes things in life can be hard and I become weary.
But, I know He will lead me to places of peace and safety.

It may be hard to see where I'm going.
Not knowing where to take that next step can be pretty scary.
But, I know He already knows the way and has a perfect plan for me.

It's where I want to be. Following His leading, wherever He leads. 
And that's the right path.

and STOP!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I'm so thankful that God has a plan for each of our lives. Go ahead and pray Psalm 25:4-5 for yourself. Then put your trust and hope in Him. His ways are always best.

 Love ya, 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Hitting the Button

Hey there friend!!

Does life ever seem to get too busy? And you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed by all there is to do?

Yea, me too. I'm tired of feeling like I've crossed one thing off my ToDo list only to have two more things added.

While praying last week about this and asking the Lord to help me know what to do and how to prioritize or what to give up or put off...... well,  I had an A-ha moment. 

It's not a question of how.

How do I work full time, take care of a home and some of the yard work, blog, quilt, be involved in our church and have time for family stuff? How do I do all the things that need to be done and some of the things I enjoy doing??

A-ha! Guess what? I realized that I can't get it all done.

Ha! I just. Can. Not. It's that simple.

So now what??

I mean sometimes I'm at the point where I want to hit the button....

..... the reject button - and reject anything else anyone asks me to do
..... the panic button - and cry, pull out my hair and eat a whole box of chocolates
..... the eject button - and bail out and hide in my closet

Now that's a pretty sight - crying, half bald, screaming NO!, with chocolate smeared on my face.

Oh my!

What to do??

I'm thinking maybe the best button for me to hit would be the pause button.

The next six to eight weeks my calendar and ToDo list are full and I'll be super busy. {Yes, I do have a calendar and a ToDo list. This gal right here is a bit of an overachiever in the planning dept.}
Honestly, I had thought about closing up my little place in bloggy land. Maybe this whole Sharing Life to Encourage You here at Finding Hope & Joy was only meant to be open for friends to visit for a short time and not forever.  
Was it time to pull up the Welcome mat, shut the blinds and hang up a CLOSED sign?
Even though so far this year I've only been able to post something once a month, it would be one less thing on my list. And I don't know about other bloggers, but it usually takes me quite a bit of time and effort to get my thoughts out and typed. Then proof, retype and repeat. And there's always the task of finding or making a graphic to add for your viewing pleasure.
As I took a look around FH&J, I saw the posts I've started still sitting in "draft" status. Some are a bit dusty from sitting there for over a year. Yikes!
But, something was stirred in me and I know that I still have things to say and share and hopefully encourage you with.
So, I've taken a deep breath and made a decision. I know there are some things in my life right now that must be a priority over blogging. I've prayed and asked the Lord to help me live each day with joy and peace as I keep my focus on Him and His plans for my life.
And yea, that whole idea of sitting on my closet floor, crying and half bald from the stress I feel? That's kinda scary. Though not the chocolate part. Chocolate is never scary.
I think I've figured out what to do when you're stressed to the max and want to hit a button.
Yes, go ahead and hit the button. 
That is, the pause button.
..... pause and take a deep breath
..... pause and pray
..... pause and ask for help
..... pause and reevaluate
For now I'm hitting the pause button on blogging. I hope that some day in the not too distant future I'll find more time to write. Now is not that time.
My home in bloggy land is not going anywhere.  
The Welcome mat is still out. 
I've left the blinds open so you can always stop by, peek in and read some of my past posts.
And I've hung a sign on the front door -
Love ya,  

Monday, May 2, 2016

Happy Monday Morning ~ I said Wow!

Hi friend!!!

Happy Monday Morning! 

"Stars" posted on Photobucket by Karie N. Damon

"Look at the sky and see.
    Who created these things?
    Who brings out the stars one by one?
        He calls them all by name.
Because of the greatness of His might
and the strength of his power,
    not one of them is missing."
Isaiah 40:26

Sometimes, when I read a Bible verse all I can think to say is -
Wow! God that is so awesome!

After reading Isaiah 40:26 that is what I said. Out loud. And with a smile on my face.

How cool is the thought that in our night time sky the stars are brought out one by one?!

I mean really! It does look that way, doesn't it?

As the sun sets and sunlight starts to fade, the brightest stars begin to show. As the night moves from dusk to darkness we can see more and more stars twinkling high above.

On a clear night I do love to look up and see the stars. Oh so pretty!

So many.... too many to count. But God knows each one by name. Wow!

Some of us have a hard time remembering the name of the kiddo we're yelling at calling to -   "_______ come here!". You know what I mean. You call each of their names (maybe even the dog's) until you get to the right one. Ha!

Yep, God is so powerful and great that He keeps track of each and every star. He marches them out each night and then when the roll call is complete not one is missing.

So friend, if He does that for the stars, surely we can believe that He is more than able to keep track of us.

And that may just be the biggest Wow! of all.

That God, Who created each and every star, Who knows them by name and never, ever looses track of even one, knows You, too.

Don't think so?

Well, then let me share what David says in Psalm 139:1-6

God, investigate my life;
    get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
    I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
    before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too—
    your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
    I can’t take it all in!

You may want to go ahead and read the rest of  Psalm 139.
And I bet you'll be saying Wow!, too. Maybe even out loud. And with a smile on your face.

He knows you and loves you friend!
Believe it!

Love ya,

Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy Monday Morning ~ Keep Singing

Hi friend!!!

Happy Monday Morning! 

"Hope" is the thing with feathers---
that perches in the soul--
and sings the tune without the words---
and never stops--
at all."  
~ Emily Dickinson

So is this just a cute quote or is there some real truth in it?
{the little purple birdie is definitely cute}

As I thought about this I had to giggle that feathers in my soul might just tickle. Ha!

But than I thought a bit more about it and got serious.

I feel it's more than a great quote or thought and we can find some encouraging stuff in it.

You see friend, when your source of hope is found in God - in His promises and His character (loving, caring, faithful, good, true, just, etc) - than we are able to have a hope deep in our soul that doesn't stop singing.

Having a hope like that in life's difficult and hard time could be like singing a tune without knowing the words. But, that hope inside us? It's there. And it's still real.

I admit I don't know a lot about birds, or there habits {except they love leaving me "presents" on my car's roof  and windshield when I park under the tree at work}. But, I have seen birds perched in a tree or on top of our backyard fence. They can hang on tight even when the branch sways and a breeze blows. And they just keep singing their song.

If that hope inside us is real, then I believe that even if it feels like we're perched high up in a tree and there's a wind blowing .....

.... We can still sing -

         "It is well with my soul."

                                   "I still believe."

                                               "Yet will I rejoice in You."

And even if you can't find the words - don't you still feel that hope?

Dear Jesus,
Please help us recognize the truth in your Word and know that You are able to give us hope and bring us peace. Help us to never give up and never loose hope. And if at times we feel we can't hear the tune any more or we've forgotten the words or our life feels like a bird has pooped on it, please restore the joy of our salvation* and sing over us with gladness** until we again can hear Your song of hope deep in our soul. May that song of hope never end.

*Nehemiah 8:10 
"...for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
**Zephaniah 3:17
"The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you."

Will you sing with me friend? {it's ok to just hum along until you remember the words again}

Love ya, 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Evie the Evergreen

Hey there friend!

Today I'm posting something totally different. 

It's a short story and.......

TaDa! It was written by me.

Yea me! My high school English teacher would be quite surprised. Me and creative writing did not click way back then.

Then how did I come up with this story?

I guess to start with I was inspired by a picture of an evergreen tree. Add to that the lessons learned as I spent six Monday nights in a ladies Bible study called Missing Pieces by Jennifer Rothschild. {by the way it was an awesome study!} And then there was a Bible verse in Habakkuk that was the theme of our study. Put it all together with writing, rewriting and prayer and this is what I got.

I'm not sure how good my little story is.
Cute? - yes.
Makes sense? - I think so.
Ever be published? - nah.

But hopefully, it gives a message of encouragement to the reader. And hey! That's what my little place in bloggy land is all about.

So friend, I hope you enjoy it -

The Story of Evie the Evergreen:an Encourager
~by Debbie Gabelman

Up on the mountain top where Evie lived in her home tree sometimes the wind was wild and crazy and sometimes gentle and soothing.
Ever since Evie was just a seed-wingling in her pinecone she could hear the wind sing through the branches of the tall and majestic evergreens. It would sometimes shout the praises of Almighty God and His greatness. And sometimes it would whisper and seem to speak her name.  More than once she heard it say her name and tell her that there was a special purpose for her and the tree she would one day become.
photo found on Photobucket

So when launch day came Evie squeezed out of her pinecone and leapt joyfully and expectantly onto a gentle breeze. She was followed by quite a few other of her seed-wingling friends.

From the tippy top branches in the home tree they twirled and drifted down, down to the soft and rich soil below.

But then something unexpected happened. A single gust of wind blew Evie – and only Evie - right over the mountain top’s side. She started spinning wildly. When she finally made an abrupt and rather hard landing she found herself part way down the mountain on a small shelf of rock that jutted out from the side of the mountain.

When she peeked over the ledge’s side she could see she was still very high up.  If she had continued down to the bottom she most likely would not have survived. There was a road that ran around a lake that sat at the bottom of the mountain. If the cars on the road hadn’t squished her, than the lake’s water certainly would have drowned her.

She looked around at her little landing place and found it to be small, but comfortable enough. It even had some soft and fertile soil on it. Just enough for her to wiggle down into and start the process of becoming a tree.

Over the years she did grow. Oh but she often felt so alone. It was bad enough that all her friends from her seed-wingling days were up on the mountain top becoming beautiful and majestic trees. But she rarely heard the wind speak to her any more. 
She started to think how it just wasn’t fair. And she started to doubt. Maybe what she thought she had heard as a seed-wingling had only been her imagination. Or maybe she didn’t understand. Or maybe God had changed His mind. Made a mistake? Didn’t care? And if He did care was He even aware of her and what had become of her?

Evie continued to grow into a very tall evergreen. She wasn’t as beautiful as she had imagined she’d be. She certainly would never be considered majestic. It had been rough trying to grow on that mountain’s side. She had a few bare spots where branches had snapped from a heavy snow one year. A few other branches just never seemed to stretch out very strong and straight. What with them always being whipped by the strong winds that came around the side of the mountain in the spring.
Every now and then she thought she heard the wind whisper her name and even speak words to encourage her. That she was still significant. That God did see her and did have a plan and purpose for her. That she would be an encouragement to many. She wanted to believe … to have faith… but the missing pieces in her branches seemed to match the missing pieces in her faith.

Until one day when a piece of paper came drifting down on the wind and landed in her branches. “Oh that’s just great”, Evie thought. “Now on top of everything else I’m a garbage collector. I can’t even get any birds to nest in my branches, but I can catch garbage.” And with that her branches seemed to droop a little bit more.
Just as she finished that thought - the wind suddenly blew from a different direction than usual for that time of year. It was a mighty and strong gust of wind. And she heard it as clear as she did back when she was just a seed-wingling. It told her that God had a purpose for her. That her sparse and bare places are the things that make her truly beautiful.

Evie began to weep. She bowed her head and asked for Him to show her.

She waited and soon a soft breeze came and lifted the paper out of her branches. The piece of paper blew up and around. It seemed to dance on the wind.

That's when Evie saw that it was actually a photo. What?! It was a photo of Evie!

There were words written on it. They said - Yet I Will REJOICE in You!. Someone had seen her. Someone had seen beauty in spite of her imperfections. Or maybe because of them.

Photo by Jessi / Design by Debbie

From that day on Evie stood as tall as she could and hoped others would see the beauty in what God had done in her life. She truly had become an encourager. She now knew that God is true to His word and promises. And she rejoiced with the wind that blew and sang that truth all around her.

The End

Love ya,

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Five Minute Friday Fun: Focus

Hey there friends!

A little confused by the title of this post? Oh! It's not Friday is it?

Oops! I kinda missed Friday's blog land party at Kate's place.
But thankfully, she allows us to link up after Friday and doesn't mind if we come to her party late.

I just couldn't pass this Friday's one word prompt by - FOCUS. It's been on my heart all weekend.

The truth is that I have quite a few posts still in draft stage waiting for me to figure out what and how to say what's on my heart. And then sometimes I just.... have. to. write. This is one of those times.

Let me explain why and then I'll start my five minutes.

On Wednesday night there was an urgent prayer request on Facebook from a friend. It's for a seven year old boy's dad..... a motorcycle accident.... in surgery..... mom passed away a few months ago.... he has a baby brother.

And so I pray and ask hubby to pray.

The next day, Thursday,  I see the update that the dad made it through surgery and is in very critical condition in ICU.

And I continue to pray. Update hubby and he continues to pray, too.

Surely God will be merciful and allow this dad to heal and recover and live. And my heart breaks for the seven year old who has already experienced enough grief .... more than a seven year old should ever have to.

And that evening I ask if there is any update. And I read my friend's reply. The dad passed away earlier that day.


I am angry that this is the end of this life and the beginning of unimaginable grief for the families. That this is the way prayers are sometimes answered. And it seems so unfair for the two boys left without a mom and now their dad.

And what do I say?

How do I respond? What should my comment be?

You see I'm leading a ladies Bible study {Missing Pieces by Jennifer Rothschild} and we're talking and learning about things like -
is God fair?
does God care?
is God there?
does God ere?

That Facebook prayer request on Wednesday?
It was posted on our Bible study group's FB page.

I sat there for the longest time trying to figure out what to write. How to encourage.  And it was really hard. There are no answers that will satisfy when an event like this happens and makes us ask "why".

So I wrote -

"I too feel heartbroken for the children and the other family members. Yes, it is things like this that make us ask all those hard questions we're learning about each week in our Missing Pieces study. Hubby and I will be praying. And like you, trusting God and His perfect will."

And than this one word prompt on Friday. Yes! That's the answer we need in times like this.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!


When life lands a hard blow and knocks you off balance - don't loose focus.

And when the answers don't come easy... or at all - don't give up.

What should you do? How do you regain your balance?

The answer is where our focus lies. It does not need to be on the "Why?" or the "What if?"

Our focus needs to be on Who.

On the One who knows what we're going through. Hebrews 4:15
On the One who counts our tears. Psalm 56:8
On the One who will never leave us or forsake us. Deuteronomy 31:8
On the One who is forever faithful. Psalm 100:5
On the One who is close to the broken hearted. Psalm 34:17-18a

In order to stand back up and find peace when life knocks us down, our focus needs to be on our faith and on the facts.

Faith - choose to believe and stand on the promises of God that are found throughout His word.
Facts - God's character is: faithful, just, loving, gracious, merciful, good, righteous, all-knowing.

Faith + Facts = Peace

"You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in You."
Isaiah 26:3

and STOP!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

  "Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning."
Lamentations 3:21-23

Love ya, 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy Monday Morning ~ Let's Make Some Ripples

Hi friend!!!

Happy Monday Morning!

I have a question for you on this cold Monday morning in January 2016.

And yes, even here in sunny Florida. It's cold people! It was 25 degrees on my porch thermometer at 6:30 am. And if it was colder on your back porch this morning, well, yay for you. Let's just all agree it's brrrrrrr cold. {sorry, I guess being cold makes me grumpy}

Gonna go get me a hot cup of coffee now..........

Okay I'm back. Yum! Peppermint mocha coffee in hand. I already feel not so grumpy cold.

So anyways on to my question:

Have you made any ripples yet this year?

Now before you think the cold has given me some weird kind of brain freeze and I better hurry and down this mug of hot coffee, let me explain.

As we go through our day, from the time we wake up until the time we close our eyes at night we make "life ripples".

A life ripple is the result of something you do that makes an impact (hopefully of the positive sort) in another person's life that day. It's only a small thing.

A splash?
Nope. Not what we're looking for here.
That would be like when your brother would do a cannon ball into the pool. He would always feel this need to splash while you're laying next to the pool minding your own business, reading a magazine and catching some rays as a teenager. Cold water, wet magazine and the surprise of it all. This kind of huge ripple or splash results in yelling (by me) and laughing (by said brother).

A wave?
That isn't it either. Even though I love the rhythm and sound of the ocean's waves that is a bit too much for what I'm talking about today. And waves can be destructive and cause erosion.

A tsunami?
Not a tsunami.  Oh my no! NO!

Just a gentle ripple.

Think of throwing a stone in a lake and how it makes small, almost delicate ripples. And you throw a second stone in and you get more ripples and these now overlap with the first set. The lake is no longer calm. It's changed. There's a special beauty to the design and playfulness of the water now.

I alone cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters
to create many ripples.         
~ Mother Teresa
I think we create ripples every day and don't even realize it. The thing is that life ripples can be a positive and beautiful thing or a negative and destructive thing.
Small positive life ripples are things like ....
.... pray with a friend who has just shared the struggles in her marriage
.... a quick word of encouragement to the cashier who just got yelled at by the previous customer
.... write down a Bible verse to share with your co-worker
.... invite someone to go for lunch or a cup of coffee
.... volunteer at a soup kitchen
.... invite someone to church
.... a quick phone call to check on that person who hasn't been in church in a few weeks
.... send a note of encouragement to whoever, whenever God put's it on your heart
These small acts of kindness can start a ripple effect in that person's life for beauty.
However, the opposite of each of these would be .....
.... tell your friend you don't want to hear it again for the hundredth time
.... be the person yelling at the cashier
.... share an inappropriate joke with your co-worker
.... leave someone out when you're inviting others in the group for lunch or coffee
.... never, ever volunteer to help those less fortunate
.... don't invite anyone to church
.... don't call and do ignore the one you haven't seen in awhile
.... don't listen to the prompting's of the Holy Spirit to reach out to someone
These small acts of unkindness can start a ripple effect in that person's life for hurt. 
My last few sips of my coffee are cold now and hubby just announced it's warmed up to a balmy 40 degrees on the porch. Guess I better get on with my day.
I'll leave you with this challenge:
Let's get started together. One life ripple at a time.
Our ripples will overlap and together we'll make a difference. It's only 25 days into the new year so we have plenty of days left.
2016 -  the year of the life ripples!
Yay!! Who's with me?
{disclaimer: I made up the phrase "life ripples". Remember, you heard it here first.}
Love ya,