Category Archives: Joy

Being Grateful

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With our stay-at-home order, it is easy to get grumbly. To combat this negative thinking, I am listing 10 reasons for being grateful. I hope you enjoy these, and why not give it a try?

10 Reasons for Being Grateful

What a view!
I always wanted a window.

I am grateful for now having an “office” with a window…and a view. (My kitchen table is now my desk, and I have a lovely view of the backyard outside my sliding glass door.)

Fresh flowers on my “desk”

I am grateful that I can have fresh flowers on my table. These flowers are free and from my own backyard. They seem like such a small thing, but they brighten my “desk” and remind me that spring really is coming.

My super fashionable mask…Thanks, Emily!

I am grateful that my daughter sewed 156 local-hospital-approved masks and gave me two. Most of the rest were donated to local facilities. Since I had a mask, I finally went to a store yesterday after over a month of staying at home. My mask kept me fashionable and safe.

She selflessly sewed those masks night and day and generously donated them to essential workers. And…when a delivery man from Amazon came, he got a mask. The grocery delivery man who came with her groceries? He got a mask. When the men at Home Depot needed masks? Yep, they each got one. What about my mom who is 86? My sisters who are nurses-one in Ohio and one in Virginia? Yep, yep, and yep with packages showing up on their doorsteps. What? The mailman didn’t have one? He got one, too.

What about others who need one? There is a bag hanging on the door knob on her front door with a sign inviting people who need one to take one. That makes me feel good right down to my toes! Wow, this blog is making me feel happier by the second.

I am grateful for gas prices that are less than $1.00 a gallon. I never thought I’d see that again! I filled up yesterday (in my mask) with minimal pain to my wallet. I don’t really do any driving right now, but it is good to know that I have the gas if I need to go somewhere or if the stay-at-home order ends.

I am including a photo of the sign at the near the pumps at the gas station. Have you guessed where I went yesterday? Ah, yes, Costco!

Can you believe it? Go, Costco!
Do you see him? He’s the little bird who brought me so much joy.

By the way, something wonderful happened while I was pumping my gas, a little bird was cheerfully singing.

Yes, I am grateful for that little bird who serenaded me the entire time I was pumping my gas. Little things like that make me smile. I’m smiling right now thinking about it.

I am grateful for one of my sons who is an essential worker at Costco; the Costco at which I strategically shopped. And, guess what? Yes, you guessed it. I saw him and had short, but wonderful, time to talk with him…from 6 feet away, of course. At least I think it was him-not sure-it’s hard to tell with the mask he was wearing.

Was the masked Costco worker really Jimmy? Hmmm…
A personal best!

I am grateful that outdoor exercise is an approved activity during the stay-at-home days in our state. Riding my bike makes me feel free; I love the wind on my skin and just going fast. (Well, as fast as my legs can pedal me.)

My husband and I rode on the bike trail on Sunday, which was a sunny, warm day, albeit windy, but I earned a personal best! With a ride of 31.92 miles, it was a milestone for me. Wow! That made me feel good.

I am grateful that I do not live alone. Even though my husband is an essential worker and goes to work each day, I have a real, live human being with whom to chat and to read and to give person-to-person hugs.

My husband and I like to walk in the evenings, but it is eery. The streets are empty with spooky shadows from the bare branches of trees silhouetted on the road. This new normal doesn’t feel normal to me!

The mailmen are still going strong!

I am thankful for the United States Postal Service. I have been able to put my little notes out in my mailbox with the red flag up. (In case you forgot, that is one way to signal that you have a letter to mail without having to go to the post office or a post box.) I look out my front window later in the day and, wallah, the flag is down. I know my card is safely on its way-hopefully to brighten someone’s day. I wish I could be there to see their faces when they open the envelopes. Getting a real letter is so much fun!

Last by not least, I am grateful for you! Thank you for reading this little slice. I thought 10 might be hard, but I guess gratitudes are like tears for me. Once I start, I just can’t stop. I thought of one, then another, then another. I could keep going for hours. It is fun. Why don’t you give it a try?

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and write 10 of your own reasons for being grateful! Link them below. I’d love to read them!

Or, just add one thing for which you are grateful today in the comments below. I know I’ll enjoy reading it. Gratitude is contagious! I hope this IS something you will catch.

Joy!

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This poem was inspired by ideas from Rita K. on Nurturing Literacy, “Technology Bridges the Gap.”

Joy!
A brilliant, yellow ray of sunlight 
piercing through darkened sky
sparkling, sparking, sparking
bursting through cloudy covers
A sunshine bath
drenching warmth,  swirling laughter
encircling, encircling, encircling
 with unseen arms
A spoonful of sherbert
melting, melting, melting
exploding with smooth sweetness
yumminess on my tongue
An eternal spring 
bubbling, bubbling, bubbling 
upward from the ground
 mysterious, unseen source
A twirling, twirling, twirling
around and around 
barefoot in cool green grass
head thrown back
arms stretched wide
Joy!
©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved

					

Easter: The Great Invitation

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…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He [Jesus] is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men , and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Luke 24: 5b-7

I wondered what Easter would be like in the midst of the great pandemic of 2020. I wondered, “Where is the Church on the most holy day of Christians?” With stay-at-home orders and fear locking us in our homes, Christians in my country are forbidden to congregate to give thanks and praise to our Savior. An unexplainable gloom had settled around my heart this week, this week before Easter. I wondered over and over, “Where is the church in today’s crisis?” Should we be locked behind doors and only visible through online services? I’m not sure; but my heart cries out against it. Didn’t Jesus touch the leper, eat with the sinners, and talk with the Samaritan woman? Yes. Yes, he did.

Today, I woke up with a joy inexplicable….and I want to share this joy with you!

Today, I want to extend to you The Great Invitation that Jesus still offers to each of us-whether rich or poor, old or young, strong or weak, and to every person of every nation, tongue, heritage, or tribe.

Jesus had a ministry for only 3 years upon the Earth, and he walked among men and women...all men and women. He didn’t discriminate because of wealth or age or power. To all he offered salvation to those who believed in Him. But he mostly connected to those who were needy, whether physically or spiritually, and offered to them Himself. It wasn’t that Jesus doesn’t love the rich just as much as the poor, but the rich didn’t have a need for Him. Anyone who believed, received. Isn’t that wonderful?

Do you have a need today? Are you sitting in darkness or fear? Are you alone or sad? Are you worried about your life? Are you lost? Do you need hope?

To those in darkness, Jesus says, “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

To those who are fearful, He says, “Fear not little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

To those who need help, the Bible says, “Our help is in the name of the LORD [Jesus], who made heaven and earth.” Psalms 124:8

To those who are lonely, “…he [Jesus] hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5b

To those who are mourn, Jesus says, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

To those who worry about their life, Jesus says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7-6

To those who feel lost, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6

Do you have a need today?

Do you want rest for your sin-sick soul? He is standing at the door of your heart and knocking; He’s waiting for you to open the door and to hear you ask Him into your life.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man [or woman] hear my voice, and open the door , I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20

Are you asking, “Does that mean me?” I am too bad. I’ve sinned too much. I have been too ungrateful and lived only for myself. I have turned my back on Jesus my whole life. Does he really love me? Can I come?”

Listen to this glorious invitation by the Holy Spirit and by the Bride of Christ, his Church:

And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Revelation 20:17

Did you hear that? There is the invitation….”Come!”

Who is invited? “…whosoever will…”

What is the cost? To you, God says to “…take the water of life freely!” It cost you nothing! But to Jesus, to Jesus, what was the cost?

To Jesus, it cost everything. It cost His life as he took the place in judgement for our sins on the cross. God, the Father, turned his back on Him that day. Jesus, for the only time in eternity, was separated from the father because of my sin…and your sin. Jesus died. Then, the Bible and history tell us that he was buried. But…but…three days later, the day we celebrate today as Easter, he rose from the grave. Death could not hold him. He shattered for ever the power of Death. Ha! What victory! Today, Jesus is alive and is sitting at the right hand of God. He’s sitting in victory! He is calling me and women…to “whosoever will”…to come.

Today, hear the invitation of Jesus as he says,

Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, ad my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Yes, Easter is today, and Easter reminds us of God’s great invitation. Jesus is extending this invitation to you! Won’t you say, “Yes. I believe”?

Friend, please let me know if today you accepted the great invitation of Jesus. It would be my honor to pray for you.

For God so loved the world [you], that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Bad Hair Day

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Peeking out of my window, a faithful friend beckoned me.
“Come visit today," she seemed to say.
So reaching and grabbing my jacket so dusty,
Gaily, I waved and went slipping away.

Enjoying the company one of the other, 
“Oh, help me, please,”  silent eyes did plead.
So pitiful her imploring was, I scarcely could recover,
I decided right then, I could help my friend, help her to be freed.

Touching her fingers to wild, messy tresses,
“Could you, would you, help me please?
So tangled and matted and tattered and knotted," Oh, how she stresses!
I’ll do my best to fix this mess, I answered with unease.   

Running to go, to grab what's needed,
“Don’t be long,” she exclaimed and pleaded.
So knowing how quickly I’d return, her words I never heeded. 
I found the things so very quick, my task was soon competed.

Beginning to comb, this way and that, from every side and angle,
“Ouch! Be careful.  You're hurting me," she whimpered and did whine.
So gently I pulled, I pulled at the mats, I tugged at the tangles;
I snipped at the snags;  I combed at the locks 'til beauty did shine. 

Gathering dead and damaged hair,
“I'm feeling so much better,” the happy chorus refraining.
So I walked all around to inspect the repair,
I smiled to myself with my pride never waning.

Whistling cheerfully, strolling back home,
“Thank you, oh, thank you,” came floating along.
So I pondered how glorious my yard to behold,
and heard all the chirping, 
                 the rustling of leaves, 
                                   the joyful, the jubilant 
                                                         song of the spring.  

©Barbara J. Donaldson, 2020. All rights reserved





The comb...

Wait…It’s Spring?

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Wait…It’s spring?  My thoughts feel jumbled and confused, like one would feel if one was a pebble tumbling in a creek, and how one would feel if all the while the creek is tinkling and babbling at the joke it is playing.  I blinked.  I blinked again.  My eyes flew open!   It is spring! How did I miss it?  I feel as if I’ve been standing 3 inches in front of a large oak tree…all I see is rough, dark bark…COVID-19.

Well, this is going to change.  Quickly, I sit up, my bare feet hitting the carpet.  I speed into the closet and grab my robe.  No time to get dressed.  I need spring.  How do I welcome spring?

I hurry around the house dusting winter away as best I can.

I know…I’ll change the wreath on my door.  So, I change this…

Winter Wreath          Forsythia Wreath

I’ll changed this…

Winter art         IMG-5322

That’s better.  But, why not this?

IMG-5316         IMG-5321

But this???

IMG-5319

Wait…It’s Spring?

 

“…He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.  He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold.”    Psalms 147:16-17

 

Simple Pleasures

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A lazy start to the day,

Snuggling in flannel sheets, cozy and warm.

 

Steaming coffee, rich and smooth,

Its inviting aroma hovering in the air.

A hurry-free breakfast,

Its colors feeding the beauty-thirsting soul.

 

A to-do list, the schedule for the day,

Full of washing,

And cleaning,

And planning

for the anxiously-awaited guests.

 

A conversation, written in words, sent as a text.

The video of a granddaughter

Smiling,

Toddling,

And saying, “Hi!”

 

A porch with pansies on its step,

Petals-golds, purples, violets, ambers-

Politely calling, “Spring, spring, spring!”

Robins, hopping in the lawn,

Cheerily chirping in reply.

 

Sunshine dancing on the ground,

Clouds floating in the sky.

A restful day,

A peaceful day,

A day to remember.

 

A day to remember 

the One

Who made this

Friday Good.

 

©B. Donaldson, 2018. All rights reserved

For This Today

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Today, like many other days, after getting ready for school, I walk down the wool-carpeted flight of stairs from the upstairs to the main floor.  Feeling a little creeky and not fully awake so early in the morning, my hand loosely holds onto the rail for an added bit of reassurance. A muffled footfall echoes in the foyer as my slippered foot steps onto the hardwood floor.  (I’m fully dressed for breakfast except for my feet which luxuriate a few more minutes in my comfy slippers.  Just for a few more minutes before the on-my-feet-all-day shoes are put on.) So begins my day.

Later, when a scheduled meeting ends a full 45 minutes early, hee-hee, I head happily for home. As my red Sonata approaches the familiar two-story, gray house, the signs of various School Board candidates remind me that I need to vote before I leave on break. So, on a spur-of-the-moment whim, my foot pushes down gently on the accelerator instead of the brake, and I drive right on down the street toward City Hall where I know I’ll be in time to vote by absentee ballot.

I enter the glass doors of the stately, three story stone building. Its marble staircases and brass handrails beckon me onward to the second story. After providing the usual information, I enter the voting booth, carefully filling in the bubbles before the names of the candidates I support.  Placing the ballot in the provided envelope, my tongue wets the glue, and I seal and return it to the receptionist. She stamps it with today’s date. I smile to myself. I know it’s silly, but a voting pride swells my chest as I think how I’ve done my duty as a citizen yet again.  I think of the men and women who have fought over the years to give me the privilege. A warm feeling spreads inside me like maple syrup over pancakes on a winter morning.
I turn and trip lightly down the stairs. I think how wonderful it is, if just for today, that I can almost dance down the steps.  Not needing to grab the handrail, I feel like a teenager zipping down these marble treads. Tippity, tippity, tap.  Even the sounds sing out to me, calling me back to a time when injured knees painfully cried out with every step, up or down.  Then, the rail was my friend who supported me, helped me. I clung to her, then. Those were the times when I never thought I would be able to do this simple task again, pain free.  Tippity, tippity, tap. But now I can! And everytime I do, I thank God for this time, just this one time. Maybe tomorrow, the gift will be gone.  Who knows? But for this day, this today, I am thankful, and I skip merrily down the rest of the stairs, easily and carefree and joyful.   

The First Bike Ride of the Season

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Yesterday, the day, fresh and warm and gorgeous, beckoned me,  “Come play!”

I answered.  My bike, with flattened tires and dusty body, sat stoically behind winter storage-the wicker chairs and pillows, the planter, the shovel, and an assortment of other items.  Ugh!

Determinedly, wiggling this item, moving that item, scooching the other thing, I managed to roll out my royal blue Peugeot.  It’s like an old friend; we know one other well The seat is comfy; the handlebars are adjusted just right; and the frame is perfect for 5’3” me.  I wonder where that pump could be? Usually, my husband and I ride over the rolling hills along the bike trail to a lakeside deli that overlooks a marina together, but today, my husband is working.  I think I can do this by myself this time.  After wasting a good bit of time looking for the elusive pump, I decided to call my husband’s work.

“Do you know where the pump is?” I asked.

“Are you going on a bike ride?” he answered, somewhat disappointedly.  I knew he wished he was free to ride along.

“I know I’m out of shape so I thought I would just go on a little ride. Maybe 20 minutes or so.  Do you think it will be OK? Both the tires are flat, though,” I added. The last time I rode by myself, I got a flat tire and had to be rescued by the sag wagon.  The bike dealer had repaired the rim, noticing that there had been little metal shards that sliced the tire.

“I think if you go 20 minutes without any problems, you should be ok.  The pump is over to the left of the garbage cans. Have fun!” he added wistfully.

The yellow pump was shortly attached to my tires.  Pushing down easily and quickly at first, it became harder and harder until, at last,  I was using my entire body weight to force the air in. Reaching out with my right hand, I squeezed each tire hard.  Neither was mushy or soft. I’m good to go!  Quickly, I detached the pump and put it away.

Just to be sure I didn’t overdo my very first ride after a long winter’s biking hiatus, I set the stopwatch on my iPhone for 24 minutes.  Twenty-four minutes out, turn around, and come back home.. The return trip for me is traditionally a bit longer.  Max time about 45 or 50 minutes.  Just get my legs warmed up for the season.  

Click! My chin strap latched as I put on my helmet.  On slipped my gloves, first the left and then the right..  Right foot on right petal. I’m off.  Looking both ways, I navigate out the driveway onto the suburban road in front of our house.

The saying, “It’s like riding a bike,”  is so true. My bike and I start to fly along in perfect harmony, just as if my bike hadn’t been waiting patiently all winter long for me to come play.  The unseasonably warm day, 55 degrees to be exact, brought more than just me out. I think every two-legged creature alive was out walking, and many with their four-pawed friends. Couples with pouchies.  Moms with strollers. Parents with children. Joggers. Bikers. Scooterers.  Is that a word?  Oh, I don’t care.  The air was fresh and clean and it breathed new life into my winter-weary soul.  As I slowed to cross one road after another, I noticed I didn’t even have to stop.  No one was driving their cars! All werel out, like me, soaking up this seasonal medicine.

My alarm, annoyingly, started to ring, reminding me that I must turn around.  Seeing a little turn-around spot along the bike trail, about halfway down the hill  I”d been zooming down, I slowed my bike and sharply turned the handles. Time to head for home. 

The return trip was full of delights. Two cardinals-one a brownish female with just a hint of red and the other a male wearing his scarlet robes twittered a merry hello as I glided by.  Then, a pond slipped by, complete with a goose and her goslings swimming in an orderly line…like children following a teacher. Rabbits hopped from bush to bush; squirrels scampered here and there.  All were out-human and creature alike.

I slowed as I spotted a familiar gray house with its red door and inviting forsythia wreath..  Carefully, I steered into the driveway and came to a gently stop. Reaching behind me, I unzipped the pouch in my neon yellow windbreaker where my iPhone was ticking off the minutes.  I checked it. Twenty-eight minutes return trip. That figures!   A little pride puffs up inside me, I know pride goes before a fall, but I am happy with my accomplishment- this little goal for the day.  I can’t wait for the second ride of the season!

 

“God is in His Heaven…”

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Bang! The car door slammed behind me. Turning, my feet stepped from the back parking lot into  the alleyway beside church; I headed toward the front door. The sun shone brightly on my face, warming it.  A smile, the kind with little upturned ends, spread across my face. It feels so good. The breeze, an early-spring kind of warm, played with my wavy, brown hair and tickled my skin.  It feels so good.  

Chirp! Chirp!  Could that be a robin?  Where is it? I asked myself, looking up, down, left, and right.  Where is it?  My little feathered friend was shy and chose to remain out of sight.  

I need to hurry.  I”ll be late. I willed my feet to hurry along.  Then, music and joy and God’s people praising Him.  How great to be alive!  

I ran up the concrete stairs, reached out my hand, grasped the door knob, pulled it open, and entered.  “God is in his heaven, and all is right with the world,”  I quoted to myself.