Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Fear Rings your Door Bell

He (the Priest) shall say: ‘Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them.For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’ ” Deuteronomy 20:3-4 
Like Professor Moriarty to Sherlock Holmes, Wyle Coyote to the Roadrunner and yes, the Joker to Batman, FEAR has been my nemesis all of my life.
I’ve fought hard against it using Scripture and prayer, practical mind diversion techniques and even therapy. Today I can say I am a courageous woman who lives in freedom, only because of the way the Lord has fought for me against my enemy.
And then…
A deranged man, full of evil, enters a theater 25 minutes from my house and kills 12 people and injures 58 others.
My family is safe. My nephew went to one of the other theaters in Aurora for a midnight showing of Batman and came home happy and unharmed.
We all were bombarded with the tragic news the next morning. I was out drinking coffee on my balcony when a neighbor walked by and said, “Turn your TV on, Robbie and pray.”
Fear rang the door bell as I sat and watched the news. I let him in and he sat with me as my heart broke for those parents and family members of those shot. I cried and shook my head at the senselessness of such an EVIL act.
That day Noah was scheduled to go to Water World with some friends. Fear whispered to me, “Don’t let him go. Who knows what could happen at an amusement park today.”
The old battle raged. Do I try to control the future by gripping my son with white knuckles? Do I keep him close so I can run interference for any danger? If I don’t, what if something happens to him? What if I get a call like those precious family members of the 12 in Aurora? What if the worst possible event happens?
The door bell rang again. I answered and there stood Faith. I let him in. He whispered to me, “God is in control, Robbie. You are not. God adores you and John and Noah. The enemy does not.”
Decision time. I bowed my head and prayed for the courage to be courageous. God’s strength filled me and I told Fear to get the hell out of my home and go to hell!!
He left. I cried some more and Faith helped wipe my tears.
I surrendered AGAIN my life and my son’s life to God. “You got Him today, right, Lord?”
“Yes, I do.”
Not a promise that something horrible won’t happen. Not assurance that I won’t be faced with indescribable pain at some point. But PEACE, a lovely blanket that covers me with the joy of not having to spend time wondering and worrying and fretting. Peace that passes understanding.
No matter where you are in the world, when such evil runs rampant, you are affected by fear. Could that ever happen to me or my loved ones? Dear friend, I encourage you to kick fear out of your home in the name of Jesus and let Faith hang out on your couch with you.
So many wonderful essays and blogs have been written about the past week’s events that have made me praise God and cry and laugh with courageous giggles. I encourage you to check out these three out:

·         A blog written by a woman who was in theater 9 that night with her daughters. They escaped unharmed physically. This blog gives GLORY to the GOD who was there! It’s called “So you think God is still a merciful God?” It is a must read!!

·         A blog written by a pastor of a family whose daughter was shot. The girl’s name is Petra and her mom is a fellow writer here in Denver. (I don’t know her personally) This blog tells how God performed a miracle in saving this girl. It is SO COOL how God even prepared her to be shot! Want to know what I mean? Read this incredible post: “A Miracle inside the Aurora Shooting.”

·         And finally, an essay written by Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston on LOVE. Wonderful words.

Join me and let’s keep walking with His courage one step at a time, no matter what the enemy does! Our Mighty God fights for us!

Friday, July 20, 2012

How to Find Joy in Tragedy

Last night, a deranged man opened fire at a movie theatre, killing 12 and injuring over 50. The movie theatre is around 25 minutes from my house.

You've seen the news or heard about it. I'm not going to rehash it.

I've been writing this month on ways to find joy. I could've easily skipped today. Easily.

But here's the thing. Today, I have cried a lot and hurt for those involved and their families. I'm angry, not just at that guy, but at the enemy of our hearts, the evil one, who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5) I'm angry that he is rampant, alive, active and decimating the hope of so many.

So, do I have joy? Well, yes.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not happy. At all. But joy is not happiness or giddiness. Joy is deeper than that. It is an assurance that God is in control.

Today, whether I understand it or not, God is in control.

Want joy today? Look to Him and believe He's in control. And just be.

My friend Lucille Zimmerman, a counselor, posted this on Facebook today:

"The one thing we know about trauma, from all the research, is that people sort of know what they need, instinctively. They will most likely want to talk, and tell the story over and over and over. Let them. Don't give them advice. Be there for comfort. Let them be around calming people. Don't judge their reaction. Some may laugh and some may cry. Others my act like it's no big deal. Just allow them room to process it the way they need to. People are very resilient and most will heal their minds on their own. PTSD can't be diagnosed for at least 3 weeks. Until then it's Acute Stress Disorder." 

Her words helped me give myself the freedom today to take care of my heart. I didn't give in to that subtle guilt that says I can't be affected by this because I don't personally know any of the victims. I didn't suppress the tears when they came. I didn't tell myself to be "Christian-y" when I got furious. I gave myself permission to turn the TV off when I felt watching more of the coverage would just push me into a hole of despair. I just allowed myself the freedom to just be.

However, during today I kept in constant touch with God. I kept looking to Him, remembering, affirming and believing that HE IS IN CONTROL.

Ergo = Joy.

I am assured that this was no surprise to God. I am confident that the God of the universe who loves James Holmes, the gunman, who died for James Holmes and each of the victims, I am confident that THAT GOD is hurting, too, simply because we hurt. He loves us so much.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

He is with you. He is with me. He and his angels are comforting those who grieve and whispering courage to those in shock.

God IS in control.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lunchbox Dreams are the Best!!

Want Joy? Dream!
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

When is the last time you sat by yourself and just dreamed? Or how about sitting with a close friend and dream aloud? No holds barred, no barriers or boundaries – you just let your mind and spirit go and race toward seeing your heart’s desire fulfilled.
It’s not an exercise for every day. Sloths dream and never work. But too many of us work and never dream. Really dream!
I was working at a Christian high school, sitting in a chapel service about ten or so years ago. Our principal, the great Chapin Marsh, talked to the students and teachers about POW – Possibilities, Opportunities and Why Not!!
The Lord who has chased me all my life with his unending love nudged me. I began to dream. Really dream.
Ten or so years later, I am living out what I dreamed that day. I am a writer and a speaker for Christ. It still amazes me. The dream came true through prayer and a lot of hard work. HOURS of sitting in a chair, staring at an empty screen and asking the Father to fill it up. He has. He continues to do so.
And the incredible fact of my life as I sit here pecking away at my laptop is the Lord who has chased me all my life with His unending love is not finished nudging me. I still dream! Really dream.
Of course, the road is full of obstacles and moments of “Why am I doing this?” and “I cannot write worth beans!” As you who have been faithful readers of my Joyvotions know, I have sunk to despair at times while eating gallons of ice cream.
But this Lord, this GREAT GOD of ours, just keeps loving me and nudging me to keep going. Keep dreaming.
God can do anything!! He fed 5000 folks with a kid’s lunchbox! He is the God of the impossible.
This week I was invited to do a book signing at a local tea place here in Denver. Details are on this blog on the July 17th post. It’s this Saturday and I am excited. I understand that I am not a famous writer. I haven’t even published a book all of my own. YET. :0) But the moments that I get to fulfill a tiny wish a high school teacher had years ago is JOY. Complete Joy!
I am so grateful to God for the moments I get to dream and the moments I get to live out my dream. I encourage you, faithful and wonderful reader of my scribbling, DREAM!! Take some time and just sit and say, “Okay God! You and me. Possibilities, Opportunities, Why Not? Lead me!”
He might just have a kid’s lunchbox in His hands with YOUR NAME on it! :0)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Signing and Art Show at Pots Tea! Come on By!

I, Robbie Iobst, cordially invite you to:
Pots Tea - ART SHOW
Saturday - July 21st  - 10:00am to 2:00pm
Featuring local Artist and Authors
8100 S. Quebec, B-19 Centennial, CO 80112   (303) 771- 4832
Near the corner of Quebec and County Line behind the Safeway.

I will be signing 3 Compilation books my stories appear in:


 Enjoy a wonderful cup of tea and pastry while you look through the artistry and books; listen and get a view into the history of English “tea” customs

The Other Five Participants will be:
·         Canadian English Gentleman: Pete Young - Will be wearing period cloths and providing various English “tea” traditions, history, and tips. 
·         Artist: Brittany Grell – American Impressionist -
·         Artist: Sue ShenkSue is a Colorado native artist -
·         Photographer:  Kristine Mize-Spansky - Photography – 
·         Editor: Jim Sharon Ordinary Men: Extraordinary Lives, Defining Moment 
It’s going to be a beautiful Saturday – Come by and enjoy some iced tea and visit with me! :0)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Way #11 to find Joy - HOPE!

I heard in a sermon once that the original Greek/Arabic/Hebrew/Texan meaning of the word hope is anchor. (Yep, I don't remember the language - but I do remember the meaning.) When we have hope, we have an anchor that will keep us rooted in God when the storms blow us around.

I like that. When I have hope, I stand firm.

A great way to find joy is to reaffirm in yourself that you do indeed, have hope.

The Bible says a lot about hope.

Lamentations 3:25 "The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him."

We can easily put our hope in our bank account, our talents and even our religious practices, but the Word of God tells us to put our anchor deep into the LORD.

Read the first few verses of Romans 5 and you'll see that Paul exhorted us to to rejoice in our suffering because it leads to perseverence which leads to character which leads to HOPE and hope doesn't disappoint.

Affirming our hope can start with keeping a perspective on hard times. Testing our faith is vital to growing in us hope in Jesus. When we go through difficulties, it is an opportunity to practice hope in Christ.

I love the part of Psalm 16:9 that says, "My flesh shall rest in hope."

I love that image. Hope can be a place of refuge for each of us.

So today, if you want to find joy, take some time and affirm the hope of Christ, an anchor to your soul!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Way #10 to Find Joy - Live from Your Heart!

Think about your heart. Not the pumping one, but the one that is the mysterious center of who you are as a person. That place in you that beats with the desires and loves of your life. The part that God fills with vision and hope and adventure.

Now think about how you are living. Is your life reflective of what is in your heart? In order to survive, we take on roles. Mother, Worker, Boss, Teacher, Friend. Each is important. But sometimes these roles take center stage in our thoughts and intentions. Each day becomes a list of tasks to fulfill those roles.

But what about that part of you that gives you the JOY, the purpose, the infectious spirit for making your time on earth worthwhile?

Frederick Buechner wrote, "Our original shimmering self gets buried so deep we hardly live out of it at all...rather, we learn to live out of all the other selves which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world's weather."

Brent Curtis and John Eldredge explain and teach about how to live from your heart in their book, The Sacred Romance. I highly recommend it.

For today, what can you do that will give you a moment of living from your heart? For me, it's writing this post. I LOVE my LIFE! When my fingers hit the keys on the laptop, the serotonin of doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing courses through me and I am delighted with JOY.

Want to find joy today or this weekend? Ask God to help you LIVE FROM YOUR HEART!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Way #9 to Find Joy - Clean?

Yep, clean something.

This week I've been cleaning my home systematically. Not just picking up, but really cleaning. And I have to be honest with you.

I've hated it.

To me, there is absolutely nothing joyous about dusting or wiping or sweeping. I did not giggle ONCE as I mopped the bathroom floors. No angels sang and no birds appeared as they did with Snow White as I cleaned the cabinet doors.

And today I rented a carpet cleaner for two rooms. For hours the cleaner stood across from me, by the door where I'd left it. It mocked me and told me that I spent the money, I had to use it.

I posted on Facebook my dilemna with procrastination and several folks encouraged me and cheered me on and advised me to reward myself. I took their courage and used the cleaner.

I did. Eventually. I prepped the carpet and moved furniture and I shampooed my carpet. It still isn't perfect, but it's so much cleaner.

I am now finished. And guess what?

Joy. It has crept up into me and surprised me with the satisfaction of doing a job well (sorta) and having a finished product I'm proud of. My reward is tomorrow. I'm going off to spend the entire day writing! Woot!

So today, want to find a little piece of joy? Clean something. If you're like me, the joy will not come until after, but when it does,'s nice!! :0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

If God Never Went through Menopause, how can He Help me?

(If you would like to get my Wednesday Joy-votions in your email box, just email me at robbieiobst at and I will begin sending them to you next week!)  
 Way #8 to find Joy - Laugh at Yourself!

“…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

About six weeks ago, I was sitting on my couch at home watching mindless TV when I felt a mysterious atomic energy flow through my veins. I cocked my head like a puppy wondering what it could be. John walked through the room and I asked, “Would you feel my head? I think I have a fever.”
He did and said, “Well, you are hot!” And he winked at me.
“Seriously! I think I may be having a stroke!”
“You are extremely red and hot to the touch.” Of course he couldn’t leave the room without throwing in, “You probably just need more cowbell!” (A reference to an old Saturday Night Live skit.)
After my nuclear reactor went off a couple more times, I discovered that I, the young thing who will never grow up, am going through “THE CHANGE!”
What? Not Me!
A memory of my mother popped up. We were sitting at a restaurant. (I think I was in college.) In the middle of the meal, for no reason, she started crying. Like not sweet little “Oh isn’t that darling” tears, but water-balloons-splatting-against-your-windshield crying. I remember her distinctly saying, “Don’t mind me, Robbie. I’m just going insane.”
Mom, how I’d love to call you now and apologize for looking at you like you weren’t my mother. I remember thinking, “Is she going to have to ‘go away?’ ” NOW I RELATE. And I have a tiny glimpse of how Noah might see me these days.
I’m already emotional. If you know me personally you know that I can cry quite easily and I get excited and angry quickly. Multiply that by 100. Yep, you can pray for John and Noah.
But here’s the deal. In this season of suddenly becoming strangers with my body, God is teaching me a new depth of joy, which only comes through laughing at myself. Even as I bawl, God is whispering perspective to me and I find myself grinning through tears.
My body has been good to me. It’s allowed me to write on my laptop and walk the dogs, kiss my husband and hold my son. It’s allowed me to breathe and live. So why not give it a little grace during this time that it has a mind of its own?
And God is always there. When I light up like a bonfire covered in gasoline, God reminds me that this too shall pass. When I fly into a murderous rage while dealing with my 13-year-old son, God provides the fruit of the Spirit of self control.  And when I embarrass myself even more than normal, God nudges me like an older brother and I see the humor.
God didn’t go through menopause, I think. But can He help me? OF COURSE, BECAUSE HE IS GOD! He made me and He understands every single emotion that is playing Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em in my brain right now.
The other day Noah said something to me that was disrespectful and unkind. He later apologized. (After the flogging.) When he showed off his teenage self, I held my tongue for a moment, while contemplating how it would feel to really hit him and if I would actually go to jail. Enter the God who created me. A flash of the movie, “The Upside of Anger” went through my brain. It’s a scene during dinner when a daughter brings home her older boyfriend. The mom has a moment of fantasy seeing the boyfriend’s head explode.
The thought made me grin. Now don’t you judge me, don’t you dare! Unless of course, you are a member of the menopause club. After my highly inappropriate and funny thought, I was able to respond gently and firmly.
Yesterday I decided to be gentle with me and so I took myself to tea. Right beside the tea place was a massage establishment. Classy, not a parlor. :0) So I did something extremely spontaneous and I went in and asked for a massage. I told Nancy, my massage therapist, that I was going through menopause and...Well, that’s when I started to bawl. Nancy took my hands and told me about her own club membership and said, “You’ve come to the right place.” God led me into that building and used Nancy’s hands to minister to me. It was fabulous. Even when I started laughing so loud I knew I was upsetting the “Zen” of the place. And when I began the deluge of tears…again! God knew and He nudged me and I grinned, this time at the silliness, the ridiculousness of my situation. I thought, “Don’t mind me. I’m just going insane.”  
And recently I went to Five Guys Burgers with my hubby for lunch. (This was not our big motorcycle trip.) During said lunch, I transformed into a certain reindeer’s nose. Safe to say if Santa showed up I could guide his sleigh anywhere. I sat there, glad it was summer, because I just looked like a foolish woman who had cooked herself in the sun without sunscreen. The bad part is when I started feeling embarrassed and the tears showed up, uninvited mind you, and I began crying into my delicious dog.
John, who has been anointed Saint John during this time of my life, looked at me with such compassion. And then something flashed through his eyes and a slight grin crept on his face.
“What? What is it?” I asked while blubbering.
“Nothing.” He put his compassion back in place. “I love you.”
“What were you thinking? You thought something funny. Tell me.”
He paused and said, “Robbie, I’m not going to tell you. You look so pitiful like you want me to put you back where I found you.”
“No really, John. Tell me. I need to laugh.”
One of my husband’s spiritual gifts is the laying on of one-liners. I knew this. He waited for another moment and then announced, “I was just thinking maybe I should have taken you to Red Lobster.”
BWAH HA HA!! I howled, even as I bawled.
God, the one who created this body that feels like someone else’s body, laughed with me.
And one more glorious time, joy, deep joy, bubbled up into my menopausal self.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Way #7 to Find Joy - Dance!!


Don't feel like it? Put on some music and just tap your toe.

Not a great dancer? Who cares? Do it alone!

Something about moving your body to music stimulates your joy muscle. It just does.

This is a vidoe from 2008 about a guy named Matt who went around the world dancing with folks. It's fabulous! It will make your heart dance, if nothing else! :0)

And for a bonus, here's a post I write a while back asking the question Does God Dance?

Here's to you boogy-ing to JOY! :0)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Way #6 to Find Joy - Make Something!

Hello. My name is Robbie and I am a ... scrapbooker.

Hi Robbie!

Some call it a cult and others an addiction. Whatever it is, I love it. I enjoy cropping and punching
and taping and arranging. I love putting pictures in an album and watching it become something lovely.

For the past few weeks, I've been working on an album for my grandbaby who turns one soon. As I plan each page and choose the background paper and the stickers to match, I experience JOY!
I am not a crafty person at all, but I can scrapbook and I love it when I do it. Something cathartic happens when I make a 3-D creation.

Are you looking for a splash of joy in your life? Make something. A picture, art, a lovely meal or a cool outfit. Watch the joy happen just from allowing yourself to use your imagination.

By the way, wanna join the scrapbooking society? The first sticker is free. :0)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Way #5 to Find Joy - BE HONEST and remember HE IS WITH YOU!

I deal with depression from time to time and in the past I've taken anti-depressants and was glad to have them. I decided to do "July Joy" on my blog a few weeks ago. But since I've started this, guess what? I've been dealing with the blues. Ironic? Yes. A surprise to God. Nope. I'm sure it's part chemical and part attack from the enemy.

A great way for me to find joy when I am dealing with a sense of "blah" and sadness is to Be Honest and Remember that HE IS WITH ME. Even if I am not my happy-go-lucky self.

If you are in this boat of the blues, be honest about it. No reason to fake giddiness. Read Psalm 23. I know it's a psalm often used for funerals, but it contains the Word of Truth.

What does Psalm 23 say about me in a time of depression?

1) He gives me rest and beauty.
2) Even as I am trying to find a reason to get out of bed, HE RESTORES MY SOUL.
3) I don't know what to do. Just look to Him and He guides my life, my day, each moment.
4) Even when I walk through a dark time of my soul, be it grief or sadness or depression, I don't need
to fear for HE IS WITH ME! He's making me a meal and showing my enemies that HE is in control!!

Joy is not happiness or giddiness or delight. Joy is that assurance that GOD has me and you in His hands. He has our back. He has our hearts.

Today, be honest about how you feel and no matter what the answer is, meditate for a while on Psalm 23 and the truth that HE IS WITH YOU.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

#4 Way to Find Joy - Invest in a Good Conversation!

My Beautiful Friend Margaret


How are you?

Fine. How are you?


And we go on our way. A snippet of conversation like this can't be avoided in our busy world of coming and going, but investing in a good conversation is well worth the time and effort. It takes conscious choice, a sense of purpose and selflessness.

I'm not talking about Facebook, although I've heard from a friend of mine that she can have wonderful exchanges with folks online. I don't doubt it, but I haven't learned that skill as yet. I need to see the person and hear their tone. I love eye contact.

I am blessed with several friends I could mention here, but I am going to use the example of a friend I met with quite recently. I enjoyed a fabulous conversation with Margaret. She is a good friend and we care about each other's lives. So when we met for coffee, I knew we'd have a wonderful talk. And we did.
Here's how:

1) We both chose to LISTEN with CURIOUS EARS. I have worked hard to be the kind of person that listens to what someone else is saying. Too many times I've heard what he/she is saying but the only thing that went through my mind was what I WOULD SAY NEXT. This does not build the kind of conversation that brings joy. So now I listen and I use my curiosity to ASK QUESTIONS. This should be natural but to many of us, it is not. However, it is a skill that can be learned and practiced.

2) We gave each other equal time. Margaret and I both know that a good friendship is a balanced friendship. Sure, there are times of crisis or trouble that requires we spend more time talking about one of us than the other. But for normal and wonderful conversations we each get to talk about what's going on in our lives. We have all had the experience of having a conversation with someone who only wanted to talk about themselves. They asked no questions and they shared no real interest in us. This does not bring joy.
Margaret and I just use basic consideration and thoughtfulness.

3) We try to see each other with the eyes of Jesus. I know when I meet up with Margaret, I am talking to someone who loves the Lord and loves me. Since we have built a friendship through time, she has permission to speak into my life the love and direction of God. I'm not talking about sitting down with me and telling me to stop sinning! Although if she were ever told by God to do that, she would have my permission because she's earned the right. I often pray for Margaret or whoever I'm meeting up with and ask God to help me be a blessing to them. What happens is usually a God thing and a conversation that always leads to JOY.

Want Joy in your life? TODAY, think of someone you want to converse with and have a purposeful, selfless and God-guided chat with them. When you walk away or hang up the phone just watch...JOY!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

July Joy - Way #3 to Find Joy - Declare Your Independence from Fear!

(This is a Joy-votion, a devo I send out through EMAIL every Wednesday. If you would like this to come to your EMAIL, just let me know at robbieiobst at hotmail dot com and I will put you on my list!) 

“Fear not for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will hold you in My righteous right hand!”  Isaiah 41:10

“NO, JOHN, you are NOT going to ride a motorcycle. Ever!”  

I remember saying this to John in our second year of marriage. Motorcycles scared me. To me, they were synonymous with death. John respected my wishes, but after we moved to Denver five years ago, he announced to me that he wanted to ride motorcycles.

When Noah was six, it occurred to me that fear was a huge problem for me. My fear had leaked onto him and he showed signs of fearfulness in simple childhood activities like sports. I began a long road to stomp out the fear in my life.

When John decided to ride motorcycles after we moved to Denver, the Lord had prepared me and I said “Go ahead, honey. Have fun!” Inside I was screaming.

But as I walked through my fears, courage grew.

Three years ago, that courage was given its biggest test. John left to go on a motorcycle ride one morning and came back home a month later, after a serious motorcycle accident left him to battle a traumatic brain injury. God healed John completely. Before he was out of the hospital he told me, “I still want to ride.”

Last week my husband rode off on his new motorcycle and I prayed, “God give me courage beyond understanding. Peace and courage.” He did. A neighbor saw John ride off and asked me how I could let my husband get another bike after the accident.

1)      I don’t “let” my husband do anything. He’s his own man and although we discuss decisions and he respects my opinion, this was his call and I support him.
2)      I am tired, so tired, of living in the “what ifs” of life. Those moments steal the joy of the RIGHT NOW.

I put a picture of John and his bike on Facebook (Wanna be my Facebook friend? Look me up and I’d love it!) and I told him about another step in my growth toward courage.

He looked at me with a twinkle and asked, “How about I drive you to Five Guys Burgers for a date on the Fourth?”

“Uh….no.  I’m not there yet. Watching you enjoy a motorcycle is one thing, but why in the world would I EVER want to get on one of those DEATHTRAPS??!!”

Even as I said the words, it occurred to me that my journey to living in courage is far from over.

So today I hopped on the back of my husband’s motorcycle and let him take me to lunch. At first I was breathing heavy, like I was going to hyperventilate. I began praying and saying Isaiah 41:10 aloud. I asked lots of questions like, “Was that a wiggle? What’s that noise? How fast are you going? Do I weigh too much?”

Saint John assured me everything was fine. And then, the miracle of God’s love and power in me occurred. I let go of my fear. I leaned back and joy started filling me up. When I got on the bike it was to conquer the fear. But God went beyond and gave me JOY.  This surprised me. HE surprised me with the capacity to get a kick out of a motorcycle.

After our lunch, I asked John to take the long way home. During our ride, I lifted my hands to the sky and praised our God!

Want Joy?  Declare your independence from fear!!

John is now planning a road trip for us…sounds fun, but we have to make sure the wills are in order. I’m still a work in progress. :0)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

25 Ways to Find Your Joy - #2 - Pour Out Your Heart and Believe!

A couple of years ago, I was driving home late at night and I was quite upset. It was one of those moments when I needed to vent my woes to a friend. I picked up my cell and dialed. No answer from John. No answer from the next 3 friends I called. Exasperated, I started to cry.

God nudged me. Call Me.

In my desperation and pain, I picked up my cell and began to talk. I pretended that God was on the other end. Silly, yes. But a profound moment because my faith kicked in and I knew that He was listening. I poured out my heart and I believed. Joy happened! Not giddy happiness, but peace-filled Joy.

Remember Hannah in 1 Samuel? She couldn't have a child and she was miserable. In the temple, she poured her heart out to God. The priest Eli saw her and thought she was drunk. She probably looked as silly as someone talking in their car on a cell phone to God. :0)

Starting in 1 Samuel 1: 15 Hannah said, " '...I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord...' Eli answered...'Go in peace and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.' the woman (Hannah) went away and ate and her face was no longer sad."

Hannah poured out her heart to God and believed. Joy happened!

Today, do you want to find joy? Take some time and just talk to HIM. Pour out your heart like you would a cherished friend over tea. And BELIEVE He hears you and loves you.

Just watch!! The Joy will happen! :0)

Monday, July 02, 2012

25 Ways to Find Joy - Day 1 - Accept Others As They Are!

My son, whom I adore! The look on his face explains so much
about who he is! :0)

A great way to find joy today is to live in ACCEPTANCE. Why do we feel the need to try to make those around us duplicates of who we are? Think like ME, act like Me. Don't challenge my world. Joy comes in accepting other folks just like they are. How God made them to be.

This is difficult in many situations, but especially when dealing with your children. Finding that balance between teaching them and controlling them can be tricky.

Take for example, my 13-year-old son Noah. Love him! But I constantly fight the need to make him, well, a younger male version of ME. Doesn't work, but I keep trying. On our vacation, I asked my son to smile for photos often. Too often for his teenage self. So he started posing like a goofball.

My choice? Find joy by accepting who he is OR making it a big deal and fighting him on it.

I chose joy!! And then I started laughing every time he did his goofy pose.

Today, make the choice!! Find joy by accepting and celebrating the individuality of those around you, especially family!

Here is my goofy boy who I accept and love:

Washington Monument


In the Smithsonian American History Museum

In the Smithsonian Museum of American Art

In a Route 66 Motel

At a Gun Museum