New Title … New Location … Same Hope … Same Reassurances …

I recently made the decision to change this blog location to one that may hopefully reach a larger audience.  As I began, just a short time ago, this new adventure of blogging my experiences of coping with my husband’s death through giving it all over to God and in that, finding a Joyful Life again, I did so to help myself in the daily struggles that come along with death and grief.  I quickly discovered that there were others that felt a connection to what I am going through … and that if I could in any way help someone else going through similar experiences, then I want to do that … which made me wonder if perhaps my Spiritual Journey might be better shared and seen if I had my own blog site … so  …..

Learning to Live With Joy Again … has become … Reliving Joyfully! 

Please, if you are following me on this blog, go to my new one, like it, share it, comment on it and even join my email list where I will send out additional inspirational messages from the Lord.  I’d love to be able to reach more … to help more people know and understand that although this thing called grief is not easy, we are not alone!  We can help each other, and through the Lord, can be helped to learn how to find Joy again .. to live a life after loosing a loved one with hope and peace.

You will see a new design, a new title, and new posts (almost daily).  I will be adding new Scripture often, videos and messages of encouragement, and of course, brags about my Golden Retriever Puppy as he grows throughout this growing journey for me.

With the new avenue of email connection, I hope to develop a monthly newsletter and eventually would LOVE to write an ebook about how the Lord has and is guiding me through this Reliving Joyfully thing!!

SEE YOU AT MY NEW BLOG … I LOVE VISITING YOUR BLOGS AND READING YOUR POSTS AND HOPE YOU WILL BEGIN TO FOLLOW ME ON MY NEW ONE SO WE CAN STAY “BLOG CONNECTED”!!!

I Said What?? …..

heartful words

“Speak Gently” was my devotional for today using Scripture from Proverbs.  It spoke of a couple who had an argument. Words had been spoken from them both that were hurtful which put defenses up for both the wife and the husband when they tried to approach the subject the next day, causing the argument to continue.

A gentle answer deflects anger,

but harsh words make tempers flare. 

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,

but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.

Proverbs 15:1-2

As I read and prayed on this message, I began thinking about a conversation last night at River’s (and my) obedience class. One of the members who has been involved both as a member, a teacher and one who has taken her dogs through obedience trials for many years was talking with me about River’s shoulder injury and at the end of the conversation made a comment that could have very well put me off.  She said he had gained some weight and was way too heavy for a pup his age, that I should cut back on the amount of food I was feeding him.

There was a time, and I have to admit could even have been very recently, that I may have been offended and upset about her comment! She was in no way ugly in her delivery, but is a very direct person, so made no beans about her observation. Taking an attitude of defensiveness is not what I did, well, because I agree with her totally!  Actually, during the class as he was in one of his down stays, I noticed that he looked a bit “thick” through the belly area.  River’s normal eating routine is twice a day, 1 1/2 cups of dry food sometimes with a “treat” of chicken stock if available.  BUT … when he was put on NSAID’s for the injury, I began adding canned food to his dry because the medication must be taken with food and sometimes when just offered dry, he is less likely to eat much.  A tablespoon of canned with 1 1/2 cup of dry eventually ended up being a half a can to 2+ cups dry and he was eating every bite!  The result … I was making my puppy fat … YIKES!!   So … today, River’s diet began .. much to his dislike … he totally protested this morning by not eating a bite!!  No worries … tonight I added half a tablespoon of canned to the dry from this morning and he ate it … I’m thinking a tablespoon of canned per 1 1/2 cups dry both morning and evening will be just fine … and as his activity routine gets back to normal, his weight will get straight.

River’s weight is not the issue here … and neither are the words that were spoken last night, as they were not at all condemning, just an accurate, helpful observation.  The point is that as a person who has been offended in the past by hurtful words, I understand how powerful they can be … and I’m sure I have been that person on the other end of the stick, so to speak, of the deliverer of harsh words to another sole.  The thing that rang loud and clear for me today, was that there are times that even the strongest person may have times when words can be hurtful and possibly cause a distance between them and the person who spoke them. We are not always strong … some of us have things in our backgrounds that may have caused us to be ultra sensitive to words that cut to the quick.

Much is said in the Bible in reference to the words we speak cautioning us to be mindful in what we say as to not hurt those we talk to.  I love this translation of His word that says a gentle answer deflects anger … BUT … harsh words make tempers flare.

Is that not the truth … what comes out of my mouth can impact someone else in a way that could be more harmful then I will ever know.  How I speak … the tone, the words, the attitude in which I deliver them … can break another person.  A strong person, someone I am close to, a family member, a stranger, an acquaintance, can be hurt by what is delivered by my mouth … much less someone who is having a bad day … someone who, due to possibly childhood experiences, is not a confident, strong person.

So … how are my words received?  Isn’t the important question …

HOW ARE MY WORDS DELIVERED????

Our Moon Connection ….

Moon

 

Every night before going to bed, I walk outside with River to be sure he does one last potty before going to his crate.  It’s sorta our routine, I truly believe he understands that following our backyard trip, he knows treats are coming as I remove his collar and he willingly gets in his kennel.

So, last night was no different … around 10:30 I tell him, “let’s go”, and we head out the sliding glass door to the patio, he runs straight to the yard to take care of business and I take one last glimpse of the night sky.

Gazing at the night sky was sort of a hobby for my husband … he spent many nights talking to our kids on camping trips about the star formations, moon fazes, and so forth .. then our grandchildren.  Now that he’s gone to be with the Lord, we all take time each month to stop and gaze at the full moon, as that was a special time for him … the beauty of the full moon.  It was a big deal if there was a ring around it, or my goodness, a blue moon was especially grand for him!  The grandsons have great memories of sitting on the tailgate of his truck in our driveway looking at the night sky with him and of how he loved the full moon and made a point to take them out and sit and gaze together.

Back to last night … as I walk out onto the patio and look up at the sky I see an almost full moon (actually I think it was at it’s fullest a night or two earlier) … it was beautiful!!  I captured a picture of it with my cell phone, not a good one, but relays the point.  Full moons are our special connection … not that I don’t think of him daily … but each month during the full moon I take time to pause and reminisce of those special night sky times with him.

Last night as I stood there taking in the beauty of the moon and night sky, I became quite sad … sad that he was not there with me to look at it together.

Sleep didn’t come easy last night, lots of tossing and turning and active dreams, none of which I can remember, just that they existed.  Today has been one of unrest for me.  Sometimes, even almost five years later, I still have overwhelming feelings of loss and sadness.  My mind has struggled with my heart all day trying to remind it that I’m supposed to be finding Joy again … and I am.  I have worked through my devotion time with God and hear what He’s telling me, but am finding it easy to just not feel today.

Probably the reason I am just getting around to writing this post … days like today, when I don’t want to feel … it’s easier to ignore than to face.  Well, the wonderful thing is … God won’t let me not face … NOT TODAY!

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Be still! Be still and know that I am God! Scripture from one of my devotionals today.  The day is moving forward, passing by, and I have spent it so far unfeeling … ignoring.   OR … perhaps I am being still!!??  Is God using today as a means for me to be still and hear Him?  Be still and know Him more fully?

 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!  2 Corinthians 5:17

The other scripture God brought to me today … to hear of His fresh start for me!  I don’t know about you, but at my age change isn’t an easy thing!  Not having my best friend here with me daily … living alone … certainly constitute huge changes. Maybe, just maybe the Lord knows I’m ready to begin to adjust in a more positive way to these changes!!??!!??

I have absolutely no idea what God has in-store for me, but I know it will be grand!  My roll in this is to be still, go to Him, dig deeper in His Word … AND HOLD ON TIGHT!

One last note … I’m not beating myself up for today … for feeling sad.  Once again God showed me through this silly, wonderful, loving puppy of mine a message just for me!  You see, as I was throwing the pity party this morning, River was feeling a tad ignored. So, he climbed up on the sofa beside me and demanded I give him attention .. and when you have a 60+ pound Golden Retriever puppy demanding attention you have but one thing to do … give it to him!!

Just as this sweet pup wanted my attention, sometimes I need that special feeling of God’s love … and how wonderful that it’s always here for me if I will just be still and take it in!  After giving River a bit of attention, he rewards me with a HI-5 … I can’t help but smile as I feel the Lord giving me a HI-5 for allowing Him to work me through these changes and the sad days that come with them.

THANK YOU LORD!!

 

This entry was posted on January 28, 2016. 4 Comments

Hope In Front Of Me …

 

I’ve had something weighing on my heart this evening … God has really been speaking to me to share the Hope that comes through Him. This song, Hope in Front Of Me ~ by Danny Gokey says it all!  Thank you Danny Gokey!!

This afternoon I came across someone who has had quite a road to travel … lots of downs among the ups with the downs speaking much louder than the ups.  As I went about my normal activities … cooking dinner, cleaning up, etc … the downs I heard from this individual would not leave my thoughts.  I understand … really I do!! It is hard to feel the blessings, sometimes, when the hurts have been so abundant in our lives, when it seems they outweigh the positive things we have in front of us.  The message the Lord has put on my heart is that we need to look to Him in all things, and if we do that it will be less likely we will focus as much on the downs!

I spoke to this a bit in my daily devotional page yesterday … of how God instructed me to take an inventory of my blessings.  Perhaps this would be an encouragement to all of us … when the downs in our lives are so heavy, we begin looking at our blessings, however small they may be .. but if we recognize even those small blessings then perhaps the ups could begin to outweigh the downs!!

Seems like it may be worth a shot to me … there is HOPE in Jesus … He offers us many more blessings then disappointments in our lives … but sometimes it’s easier to see the bad and allow them to outweigh the good.

In Christ, may we find that HOPE … may we count our blessings … count them often … then allow the Lord our Father to shine in our lives … outshine the things that cause us dismay … live in HOPE instead!

No wonder my heart is glad,
    and my tongue shouts his praises!
    My body rests in hope.  Acts 2:26

This entry was posted on January 28, 2016. 2 Comments

Lessons From A Pup …

River playing 6 mts

River is feeling a touch of cabin fever lately due to having to rest from his shoulder injury Christmas Eve and the snow and rainfall we have had this past couple of weeks.  Golden Retrievers are from the Sporting Group therefore it is no surprise this lack of activity is wearing on him … and me!  He’s a good pup … just a tad “active” lately due to the boredom.  He has kept me quite busy this week … let me out, let me in, I’ll just chew the mail, how about tissue paper, better yet a pinecone mom uses for decoration seems like a good choice …. I’m worn out!!!  I had to laugh this morning when I came into the den to pinecone pieces all over the rug.  The vacuum will be coming out of the closet today … the vacuum that River HATES!

That’s when it hit me … a message from the Lord!  How can a silly puppy with pent up energy speak to me so loudly?  Consequences … OH HOW I HATE CONSEQUENCES!!  Just as River hates the vacuum, he will have to “deal”with it today because of his antics of spreading pinecone pieces all over the den run.  It is the same with me … I do not necessarily like consequences, and have spent plenty of time ignoring them just so I can do “what I want to do!”  What does the Lord tell me about consequences resulting from my actions????  Well, isn’t He just the best … as I opened one of my devotional books it was plane as day … God restores me as did the potter with his clay.  Coincidentally … NOT! … I opened my other devotional book and there it was … He can and will renew me!

 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Jeremiah 18:4 

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  2 Corinthians 4:16

Jeremiah 18:4 tells of a message given to Jeremiah by God of the potter that as he was working on a piece, found himself not happy with his work, so he crumbled it and started over.  At the time, the people of Judah were being stubborn, worshiping idols and ignoring God.  This message to Jeremiah shows how God can fix my “consequences” from my actions, begin over and restore the vessel He created in me.  2 Corinthians 4:16 spoke loud and clear to me that I should not sweat it … God is with me and He will renew me and bring me back to the child He created in me.

How refreshing … how wonderful … God can and will (as long as I ask Him to, recognize and repent) bring me back from the consequences of my sin.  The same is true with River, he will have to suck it up when the vacuum comes out … LOL .. suck it up … Funny Sharon! Actually, he will retreat to my bathroom for quite a while … guess he’s not ready to face the consequences … he’s still running from them … GLAD I AM HEARING THE LORD LOUD AND CLEAR AND NOT RUNNNG ANYMORE!!!

I find this song by Mercy Me to be very comforting as I face my sin and ask the Father to wipe it from me. GREATER BY MERCY ME …

GOD CAN AND WILL REDEEM ME FROM MY SIN ….

HE IS GREATER THEN ANY SIN IN THIS WORLD!!

POTTER

 

This entry was posted on January 27, 2016. 1 Comment

On My Grandfather’s Feet …

daughter-dancing-fathers-feet

Just how my granddaddy would carry me through the dance steps, my Father carries me when I’m tired!

My grandfather was a stern man demanding respect and order in all he encountered. Although he was a man not to cross, I was somehow not afraid of him.  I saw in him a heart he worked very hard to keep hidden. I have memories of him bringing milk and bread to the family when my father was ill and quietly giving my mother cash several weeks before Christmas to help with the shopping.  He was very present in my family helping make sure the needs of the kids were taken care of, however, always in a “behind closed door” fashion as to not allow others to see that concern and heart he so hard tried to keep hidden.

Memories came to mind last night as I lay in bed watching TV of times I would put my feet on his and he would smile and even crack a bit of laughter as we “danced” to old time music on the radio.  At first I had no idea why that memory popped in my head so randomly … then it hit me … just as Granddaddy carried my little feet across the living room floor as we danced to the music, so does my Heavenly Father carry me today!

We all experience times when we are just plain tired … not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  Tired of the daily drudges … tired of the hurts and sadness … tired of the same mindset of our relationship with God.  What is so refreshing is that our Lord was at times tired as well.

Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.   John 4:6

John 4:6 shares a time when during His travels from Judea to Galilee He took a shortcut through Samaria. Most Jews avoided traveling through Samaria because they felt the people were a hated mixed race.  Jesus, however, did not feel that way and took the shortcut as he was tired from the travel.  While there he stopped at a well and met a lady who’s reputation was not very respected in her community.  He shared with her the possibility of having eternal life through the living water He could offer her.  She accepted this offer to never be spiritually thirsty again and went out to share the news with the people of Samaria. As it turned out, Jesus stayed there two extra days to share, witness and preach to the people, many of which came to become believers and accepted that Living Water!

Just as Jesus was tired from His travels, we, too, experience times when we are tired.  Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t have to experience it alone?  If we allow Him, He will carry us through those tired times.  He is always by our side, but sometimes we are too stubborn, proud, angry … you name it … to ALLOW Him to carry us through the tired times.  As I reflected last night on that memory of dancing on my grandfather’s feet, the clear picture of Christ carrying me on His wings … Wings Of Eagles … He will do it for us all …. LORD, THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME BE READY TO ACCEPT THAT LIFT TODAY. THANK YOU FOR ALWAYS BEING THERE TO CATCH ME WHEN I FALL, AND PICK ME UP WHEN I’M TIRED.

 

This song by Tenth Avenue North is a great encouragement when I’m Tired!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-METBrlP3xU?feature=player_detailpage“>When “I’m Worn” He is always there!!

Puppy to the rescue …

river and his toys
Such a sweet face!

Purchases …. remodeling …. dating …. some of the things I found myself engaging in as I was stumbling through the grieving process.  None of them worked, why, because none of them were God led … imagine that!!  I was trying to replace the pain, the hurt with whatever seemed to subdue the pain at the time … I don’t recommend it!

So, here I am, tired … tired of endless attempts at running from the hurt I could not avoid any longer. The catalyst that spurred the turn around, as I look back … oh, to see things that were, if only I could have seen them … okay, stop that!!  These things, these events, these attitudes, these feelings, etc, etc, etc, were part of the plan … perhaps I needed these things to help me see more clearly now … whatever the reason, they happened, they exist, I survived and I sure do want to learn from them as to not relive them!!  Oh, yeah, the catalyst … so, I find myself four years post hubby’s death having to make the hard decision to have our two Saint Bernards put to sleep 2 months and 1 day of each other.  Both suffering from fast growing forms of cancer. I felt as though I was going through the process again, reliving his death … oh, how it hurt!  I had said no more dogs once the girls were no longer with me, and I knew it would not be very much longer, as they were 8 and 10 years old. Yeah, that thought didn’t last very long. The night of having to witness the passing of my sweet Maggie, I found myself on the internet looking into breeds that would be a good fit for me.  It didn’t take long to settle on a Golden Retriever … loyal, great temperament, good with kids, easy to train, eager to please and little grooming … so the search was on.  Research began to find a reputable breeder in the area and then the wait for puppies.  Name was picked and nursery preparations began … crate, bowls, collars, food, treats, toys, beds … the fun was about to commence!  Along with my 13 year-old grandson, I went to pick “River” out and the next week brought him home.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think a 7 week old puppy could do so much to get me going in the right direction.  It’s like he was just what I needed to guide me back to sanity … back to myself … and back to God!  This little guy loves me unconditionally as he keeps me busy, too busy to rush into the pity party I had found myself throwing.

River is six months old as I’m writing this and weighing in at 60 pounds and growing!  He has successfully passed all 10 requirements the AKC sets for the Canine Good Citizenship test and the title will follow his registered name.  Anxious to get back to obedience training this week following the holiday break and a shoulder injury I’ve been watching since Christmas Eve when this silly boy decided to climb on the roof of my youngest grandsons’ playhouse with them, hurting his shoulder as he jumped down.

So yup … this playful, sweet pup came to my rescue … thank you Lord for bringing him into my life.