A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

Yahweh has been reminding me of the beauty and importance of a thankful heart.

The other day I saw this quote on Pinterest:

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?

Ouch. That one got the point across to me.

And then there’s also the VeggieTales song that I’ve been singing with the little girl I babysit. And although it’s a simple song from my childhood, it holds so much timeless truth:

I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!
For our home on the ground,
For His love that’s all around,
That’s why I say thanks every day!
Because a thankful heart is a happy heart
I’m glad for what I have,
That’s an easy way to start!
For the love that He shares,
‘Cause He listens to my prayers,
That’s why I say thanks every day
!

~ “The Thankfulness Song” by VeggieTales

Thank you, VeggieTales. I couldn’t have said it better.

A thankful heart is a happy heart.

What are you thankful for today?

Summer Special Tag

We’ve been tagged, y’all!

Grace, who blogs at “Don’t You Know that I’m Singing,” tagged me in this summer blog party. Thank you, Grace! 😃

The Questions:

1) What is a nickname only your family calls you?

My family is big into nicknames. One nickname would be Dove.

2) What’s a weird habit of yours?

I partially stick my tongue out sometimes when I’m concentrating (I didn’t realize that I do this until my siblings told me! 😆)

3) Do you have any strange phobias?

I somewhat have a fear of birds. If they’re nearby me, I feel a little creeped out sometimes.

4) What’s a song that you secretly like to blast and belt out when you’re alone?

I love music–and blasting it out!–so it’s hard to pick just one. I really love blasting out TobyMac music (especially his “This is Not a Test” album) or Hillsong United.

5) What’s one of your pet peeves?

When my piano students play random notes or songs during the lesson while I’m talking with them. (I can’t concentrate when this happens.)

6) What’s one of your nervous habits?

Hmm….I think it would be crossing my arms, or being quiet.

7) What’s a YouTuber that almost always makes you laugh?

Definitely Blimey Cow. They’re hilarious! 😂

8) What was your first stuffed animal and what was its name?

I can’t remember my first stuffed animal’s name, but I have always loved stuffed animals.

9) What’s the drink you always order at Starbucks?

I’ve actually never been to Starbucks. 😆

10) Do you have any weird body skills?

Yes! I can wrap my right arm around my head and touch my right ear. (I can also do it with my left arm.)

11) What’s your favorite comfort food that’s bad but you eat it anyways?

Occasionally I have ice cream. I also love Ritz crackers when I find them. (They’re not in our home😆).

12) What’s a phrase or exclamation you always say?

“Oh my goodness!”

13) What did you use to wear that you would never wear now?

Those feathery sweaters that my brothers always called “bird costumes.” 😂

14) What did you want to be when you were young?

A wife and mother. 😊 And I also wondered about overseas missionary service.

15) How tall are you?

5′ 4″

And now…for my blogger nominees….

My sister @ In Sun or Rain

Sarah @ Agulha No Palheiro

life is short

Yahweh, please help me to…

pause to catch the sunset that paints the fading sky

sing, dance, laugh a little more

think of what is true, noble, right, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (philippians 4:8)

cherish times with family and friends

pursue the talents you have given me

look at life as an adventure, a story, a tapestry being woven by you

let go of  expectations

love you and others more
(luke 10:27)

have a thankful heart

smile at a stranger at the store

set my mind on things that are above, not on things of this earth
(colossians 3:2)

hug a little tighter

absorb the Bible, live the Bible, love the Bible

live without regret
(philippians 3:13-14)

rest on sabbath
(gensis 2:2)

listen to leaves clapping, birds singing, rain dancing on the window pane

trust in your goodness
(psalm 119:68)

live each day intentionally
(psalm 90:12)

read good books

lay down my life so i can find it
(matthew 16:25)

walk as your Son walked
(I john 2:6)

relax

look up

rejoice

pray

hope

take courage

live unafraid

for You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound-mind (II timothy 1:7)

Amen.

Looking Back & Looking Forward

Today is holocaust remembrance day in Israel.

The Holocaust seems so distant to my young heart as I live a comfortable life in small town America surrounded by family and much freedom, yet it was not as far back in history as it seems.

Horrific isn’t an adequate word; for the devastation of the Holocaust is one that words can’t describe. 

On this blog I love to focus on the bright and beautiful aspects of life, but it is important to remember the Holocaust. We must remember what has happened, so that we stand up not only for the Jewish people, but also for those who have no voice in our generation.

The present will one day be a history book.

Each of us has a role in this giant story of life–the story of centuries blending together, kingdoms rising and falling, cultures changing, the beauty and the broken, the hurt and the healing.

Yahweh doesn’t place us here to turn a blind eye to the suffering in this world.

He has a purpose for each of us to make His glory known–to shine His light in the darkness.

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross……for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:5-8 + 13-15)

Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him… (1 Corinthians 7:17a)

Let’s not be half-hearted in living out this calling.

No matter how small we may feel, He uses us to change this world. If we don’t embrace our calling, we will not only hurt ourselves, but also those around us and God Himself. For He “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Let’s do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God. (Micah 6:8)

Today…

Let’s pause to remember
Let’s acknowledge what is true

For every life is precious
A gift from above
Let’s not forget
Let’s stand for honesty
For love
For freedom
For those who have no voice
For the unborn
For the slave
For the unknown and ignored
Let’s stand for hope
For justice
For grace
Let’s walk humbly
Bravely
Toward the God of our redemption
Toward the hope of tomorrow
Let’s not forget
Let’s change the future

Lessons in the Woods

I love to spend time in the small patch of woods bordering my yard. In the distance there are rolling hills and silos. Birds sing in the treetops or skip along the pine-needle-covered earth, scavenging for food. Rabbits hop past or peer at me with their big brown eyes.

The other day, as I was sitting there enjoying the fresh air and warmth of spring, I caught sight of a tiny leaf on the ground. The intricacy of it caught my attention, and as I bent down to observe it I was touched by the detail and creativity of our Creator.

Our Creator pays attention to detail. Nothing escapes His view. He cares about the little things in our lives as well. He intervenes in the details we can’t see, weaving our lives together into a tapestry of His glory and grace.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrew 4:13-16)

Will we wrestle with Yahweh, or will we allow Him to work out the details of our lives as we seek His face in prayer and action?

He sees the full picture, when we just see a glimpse.

“The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.” (Psalm 33:13-15)

“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:22)

“He provides them with security, and they are supported; And His eyes are on their ways.  (Job 24:23)

What a privilege to be a child of God, knowing that  He is faithful down to the last detail.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?
“Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
 (Romans 11:33-36)

Stars in the Night

I love to look for the stars each night.

Sometimes the sky is glittering, and I’m awestruck by the vastness of it.

Other nights it’s blank, and I’m a little disappointed, but I know the truth. The stars will be back. In fact, they’re still there–always there–just hidden from view at the moment.

Creation glorifies its Maker, and it points us back to Him.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.(Romans 1:20)

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. (Psalm 33:5)

Yahweh, the maker of the stars, is always near.

Sometimes we might not see Him as clearly as we wish. We might feel like our faith is gazing at a blank black sky, longing for a glimmer of hope.

It is estimated that there are 100 billion stars in just our galaxy alone.

That’s beyond my comprehension. And yet, we read how, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” (Psalm 147:4)

Just as Yahweh called Abram to count the stars as a promise of how many his offspring would be (Genesis 15:5), so when we look at the stars dancing in the night sky, we see a promise.

The One who made the stars, is the One who made us, knows us, and holds us together.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)

He is always there.

He is faithful.

With that truth, my heart can rest each night.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

P.S. The story behind this song is beautiful as well.

Called to Be Daffodils

I stared out the window at the daffodils that have blossomed around the mailbox, and turned to my sister and remarked, “Those daffodils don’t fit in, do they?” Despite a few spots of grass beginning to turn green, the world outside still looked like winter.

That’s when I thought about what those daffodils stand for, and how they’re an example for each of us.

We can be daffodils.

We can smile at the winter cold, and stand as a symbol of hope to those who can’t feel it yet. We can be a reminder that joy is coming, and new life is blooming.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5b)

We are the light of the world.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 4:14-16)

How can you be a daffodil today?

Don’t let your lights go down
Don’t let your fire burn out
‘Cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don’t you rise up now?
Don’t be afraid to stand out
That’s how the lost get found

~Britt Nicole “The Lost Get Found”

Tomorrow Isn’t Promised

So many thoughts have been running through my mind, and culminating in a headache.

Maybe the headache wasn’t related to all the pondering I’ve been doing. Maybe it was the fact that I need a hair cut and wearing my long hair up might have been giving me the headache (okay, so you probably don’t care about the details). But I do hold to the conviction that God speaks to us in our everyday lives. And He spoke to me through the headache, reminding me that I can’t figure this life out on my own.

I don’t have all the answers.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds.

In fact, tomorrow isn’t even promised. And that leads to some tough questions.

If tomorrow doesn’t come, have I lived a life worth mentioning in the light of eternity?

Have I given all I could?

Or have I held back, not feeling the urgency to live every day fully for the glory of God.

Have I desired the comfort of an easy life, more than the comfort of the God who daily carries our burdens?

Have I even thought seriously about eternity?

All these questions we can ask ourselves. Maybe we have some great answers, or maybe we have some great excuses, but what answers do our lives give to these questions?

I once heard someone say, “You might not live what you confess, but you will live what you believe.”

My life shows what I believe and Who I believe in. And it’s not always the right things. It’s not always solely focused on Him.

But the gospel assures me that redemption has called me His own. My life is no longer mine; it’s crucified with Him. His Holy Spirit will guide me. In His love He will prune me. This isn’t easy, but it’s the truth. And truth always sets people free.

What if tomorrow does come?

Will we live it any differently than today?

His mercies are new every morning.

Let’s embrace each morning as a new start, a gift from above, and an opportunity to share His love with this hurting world.

We only have one life.

Let’s live it.

Announcing “Sisters on Our Knees”

Announcing "Sisters on Our Knees"

For a few months now, my friend Peyton and I have been praying about and working on a new blog called “Sisters on Our Knees”, and I’m excited to announce that it is officially launched!

On the blog you will find:

Philippians 4:6-7

Of course, I will still be posting on Blog of Joy, but you will also find me posting on Sisters on Our Knees.

Oswald Chambers Quote

Our hope is that Sisters on Our Knees can become a joint effort of sisters in Messiah around the world. If you ever feel led to write a guest post or share a testimony of answered prayer, you can email us at:
sistersonourknees@gmail.com

Feel free to check it out and share the word: Sisters on Our Knees

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Hosting a Jane Austen Party (inspiration and pictures)

Hosting a Jane Austen Party

This party was a blast!

Quite a few people were interested in coming (even friends who weren’t familiar with the books). We searched the internet and found some great ideas, and then added some of our own to create this one-of-a-kind evening.

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Upon arrival, guests were greeted by the lilting melody of “Meryton Townhall” from the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack as they stepped out of their vehicles, I mean, “horseless carriages”. :) We requested that each guest bring a name card for their introduction from the vestibule. Two of our guests came as nobility (a duke and a duchess), and both were introduced with a “red carpet” for them to enter upon.

Costumes

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Everyone attending the party was required to wear a Regency Era costume. Of course, we weren’t strict on how authentic the costumes were. One of my sisters wore a dress that had previously been used for a German costume, and one of the men came as an American patriot (saying he was traveling from America. ha ha!). Some of our guests had homemade costumes, while others pieced together clothes from home or from thrift stores.

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-Notable Characters-

  • Mr. Collins (above far left)
  • Jane, Elizabeth, and Mrs. Bennet (below)

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  • Mr. Darcy & Miss Georgiana Darcy

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  • Margaret, Elinor, and Marianne Dashwood

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  • Mr. Palmer–He had his phone hidden behind the newspaper so he could check the football scores. (We’re still in the twenty-first century, y’all!)

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  • Miss Catherine Morland

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  • Miss Jane Austen

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Entertainment

We had several activities for our guests–some planned and some not! :)

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-The “Did You Know?” Game-

Each guest wrote down on index cards at least one unique fact about themselves. My mom (the hostess) mixed the cards and read them one at a time to us all. Everyone would then guess who wrote down each fact.

Here are some examples from the party:

  • “Did you know…I did karate in a frozen waterfall?”
  • “Did you know…I weighed 2 lbs. 6 oz. when I was born?”
  • “Did you know…I can do push ups on my thumbs?”
  • “Did you know…I played Beethoven on the piano in Paris?”
  • “Did you know…I have never tasted soda?”
  • “Did you know…I drove an army truck into the corner of a roof?”

It was quite amusing and surprising, especially because most of our guests had never met before.

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-Musical Chairs-

Lively dance music from the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack was playing for this game.

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The men had their own round of Musical Chairs, since many had such well-bred manners and dare not steal chairs from the ladies.

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-Regency Era Trivia-

We found some interesting facts to share about Jane Austen and the time she lived in.

  • Jane Austen lived to be 41 years old. She published Pride and Prejudice at age 37.
  • The Regency Era was from 1811 to 1820. England was at war with the United States from 1812 to 1817 (the War of 1812).
  • Parmesan cheese-flavored ice cream was a favorite!
  • “Pineapples were very exotic and so expensive that hostesses used them as centerpieces on their dinner tables to show their wealth. They were hardly ever eaten as they were too precious and were often passed from hostess to hostess to use as decoration until they rotted.” (source)
  • “It cost at least £15 – an average working man’s yearly wage – to light a ballroom with wax candles for one night. Candles were sold in four-hour or six-hour burn lengths, and they dictated the length of the ball.” (source)

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-Pianoforte Performances & Singing-

We requested that whoever so desired would grace us by playing the pianoforte. What talent!

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My sister who came as Marianne Dashwood played “Georgiana” from the Pride & Prejudice Songbook.

Since only one young man played the pianoforte, I requested that the gentlemen sing a song for us all.

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-English Country Dancing-

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Lady Katherine de Ross so kindly led us in an impromptu dance.

-By Candlelight-

Not to be outdone, Mr. Darcy surprised us by procuring an inkwell and quill later in the evening.

Mr. Darcy

Prizes

Several prizes were awarded to our guests (character names used below). There was also a prize for our photographer and for our guest who traveled the furthest.

Best Costume (Female) went to Miss Elizabeth Bennett, with her homemade linen dress.

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Best Hairstyle (Female) went to Miss Catherine Morland (below, on the right).

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Best Actress went to Her Grace the Duchess of Lambshire (below, second from the right).

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Best Costume (Male) went to Mr. Quincy (above, far right).

Best Hair (Male)–a spur of the moment request from the ladies–went to the American Patriot (below, on the left).

Patriot

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Best Actor went to Mr. Collins (above, left) and Mr. Darcy (below).

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Food & Beverage

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For refreshments we served Queen CakesEnglish Tea Cakes, Jam Tartlets, grapes, and crackers with cheese.

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The day before the party, we ladies of the household (including a dear friend who was visiting) made the pastries. The leaf details on the jam tartlets brought a seasonal flair to the array (picture taken before the tartlets were baked).

Jam Tartlets

For drinks, we served tea and apple cider (hot or cold). Most everyone requested apple cider.

 

I’ve also saved additional ideas on a Jane Austen Party Pinterest board.

It was truly an honor to host this party for so many lovely young ladies and gentlemen. Everyone enjoyed it, and one guest said it was the most fun they’d had in a long time. Knowing that it brought so much joy to their hearts was a gift to us.

Chalkboard Guestbook
We used our chalkboard as a guest book.

Thank you to our photographer, Miss Read, for bestowing her talent in capturing this memorable evening.

And thank you to my family and friends who made it happen.

It was a blessed time, for sure!

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Which is your favorite Jane Austen book? Have you ever attended a Jane Austen party?