Today, let us rejoice in all the goodness God has bestowed on us.
No matter what is going on in our lives- He will walk beside us through the good and bad.
All we have to do is ask.
Look around. See how the earth in spring shouts for joy?
Joy over renewal. Joy over rebirth.
His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
(See Lamentations 3:23)
I pray that you find your joy-song today.
Share something you are joyful for today in the comments below.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn--
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
Though I love writing full-fledged inspirational fantasy novels, I have these little stories that I've been hanging on to for years now.
I've always thought it would be fun to write and illustrate picture books. Did you know that I was not only a teacher's aid in an elementary school, but I used to run the children's ministry at my church back in it's early years.? I'm amazed over this, too. Ha!
During that time, when I was first called back to write stories, I'd get these silly little stories that would sometimes hit me at the oddest times. (Usually in the middle of the night, as usual) So, I'd get up in the morning and write them down. When our church was just a small gathering, the pastor would let me read these stories to everyone.
The kids enjoyed them. So did some of the adults.
That was quite nerve-wracking, let me tell you. But I learned something at that time. I learned that I could say things in stories that touched people's hearts. Even helped them at times. I learned the effectiveness of telling a parable.
Sheep's Tale, was the first one to come to me.
Back in February, Mr. Castle and I went on a Caribbean cruise. What a blast we had.
The best memory I have...and there were many...but I went snorkeling for the very first time. What an experience. But it turned out to be more than just a cool excursion, it was a perspective changer.
You look out across the waters, which were beautiful and so clear, and don't even realize there's a whole world just beneath the surface. It's not until you actually go out into the depths, step off the shore, take that plunge, that you are able to see the amazing wonders of God's world.
I'll admit, me and water have a love/hate relationship. I can swim...well enough to get across a pool.
Okay, halfway, but whatever.
I think it's pretty. I love the many blues. I love the expanse.
So long as I'm on shore. Or on a boat. The bigger the better.
This day, I was going in. Oh boy, I was quaking in my flippers, let me tell you. But there was this little voice, an unreasonable, yet persistent voice, that begged me not to miss the opportunity.
I couldn't ignore the voice. So I went in. Despite my better judgement.
What is happening to our world?
If you're like me, you might be asking this question a lot lately.
Today, I just got word that my county has put out the "stay in place" order. Anyone else singing, "I'm so lonely, oh so lonely?"
Well, I'm not entirely lonely. I actually have more people around than I'm accustomed to now that some of my family have been laid off their jobs until this virus scare is over.
The news is all bad news and more bad news. (I have strong feelings about the media's involvement in all this, but I'll not spout that here.) Still, it seems like everything bad that can happen is.
But I'm here to tell you that this simply isn't true.
I'm not going to make light of our serious situation, because it is, very serious. But through all this, I've witnessed some amazing things. So, let's wipe off our dirt-smudged glasses for a little bit and take a closer look at what's really going on.
This is what happens in your brain when you feel happy--
Endorphins wake up. These are the body's "happy juice" that are released when you experience moments of happiness. They are responsible for fighting those yucky feelings of stress, sadness and pain by blocking those areas of our life.
This evidently, is scientific fact, my friends.
These wonderful, magical endorphins go zooming through your bodies, like Superman in flight, working to lower blood pressure and leaving us feeling more relaxed.
So, that's what science says.
My question is... where is the big red button that makes these feel-good mighty hormones when you need them? Can I get an amen?
During one of my morning quiet times, I posed this question:
What needs to happen for me to feel accomplished?
I'd made a list of things I desired for this year, and as I read over that list, I asked myself, "what would it take?"
Take care when you throw a question out to the universe. God is listening, my friends.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, our family lost a dear member.
We expected it, but yet, we didn't. We'd so hoped he'd hold on through the holidays, but cancer doesn't follow any rules, and doesn't care about one's wishes.
Needless to say, it was a very bittersweet week.
In the midst of heartache, stress, and mourning, God showed up. I'd catch glimpses of Him working good out of the bad situation. Some of the glimpses came from small things that worked out for the best. Other glimpses came from His children and my church family.
Welcome to the final day of our Valentines Countdown to Great Giveaways!
I hope you've come away with more than just a load of books and gifts, I hope you've found some treasures along the way to store in your heart.
Today, I'd like to finish up our countdown by talking to you all about the Language of LOVE.
I've been spending the past month making plans for 2019.
I know some people like to make resolutions. (Guilty of making and breaking many resolutions). So nowadays, I'm more likely to make "plans" instead of "resolutions."
I know not all my plans will work the way I'm hoping, but by laying down a few dreams, the possibilities begin to come to light and hope springs inside of my heart.
How many of you are already thinking about the year to come? Are your calendars already purchased? Planners filled with fresh pages and ready to go? Goals, or perhaps resolutions, written down. Maybe this year we’ll make it to March before scraping them? Ha.
This morning as I was having my quiet time, I was reading the first chapter of the book of James. Here is a book that packs a big wallop. Our Bible study group decided to go through James for the next two months and after three days, I've only managed 12 verses! Yikes!
Today, I read verse 12: Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (NIV)
I wish that I'd come across this verse while I was working on the last Lavender Vale Farm book, Blessed Gifts, because this would have fit the theme and Ben Brown's dilemma perfectly. Ben is faced with making a rather difficult choice which boils down to taking the easy way, or taking the hard way.
The easy way has it's perks, but it's the hard way that the Lord promises is where we will find our true reward. Which is guess is why James said, Blessed is the man who...
Jackie Castle is an author, artist and dreamer. She lives in Texas with her husband, two grown children and her dog, Banjo. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences.
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