Tuesday, January 31, 2012

J.R. Martinez Inspires Military Friends

Top photo: Pictured, left to right: Mattie Reynolds, Courtney Kramer, J.R. Martinez and Katie Reynolds.

Second photo: Pictured, left to right: Katie Reynolds, Courtney Kramer and Mattie Reynolds.
Photos by Phyllis Wheeler

 Shirley Endres and Phyllis Wheeler. Photo by Phyllis Wheeler

Not only did I get to hear Army Hero and Dancing with the Stars Champion J.R. Martinez' amazing story today but I got to meet him in person! Thanks to J.R. Martinez I not only have some inspiring words to remember and a wonderful experience to treasure but I made three new friends and strengthened an existing friendship. What a fantastic day filled with blessings!

It was wonderful to meet Katie, Courtney and Mattie, three fun young ladies who kindly shared some great blogging tips. It was also great spending time with my friend Shirley who was kind enough to drive us both today.

If you're interested in learning more about J.R.'s talk you can check out this article on my local news/community events blog. If you'd like me to type up the notes I took of his story (in addition to what is in the aforementioned article) please email me or comment below and I'll be glad to do that for you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Practice Compassion for Happiness

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

This wonderful quote by the Dalai Lama reminds me that practicing compassion is good for everyone. It's good for the giver and the receiver. My kind model for this photo wished to remain anonymous but she was volunteering to make valentines for hospitalized veterans when I snapped it. Volunteering for a cause you love can offer many opportunities to practice compassion. Of course, the first place to start is in our own homes. Sometimes we're most critical of those closest to us. Let's give them a compassionate break.

It's said that when you want to learn to practice compassion you should start with someone you already love. Then once it comes easier to you, practice compassion for someone you like, then for someone you moderately dislike, and eventually for someone you hate. Wherever you are in your journey of practicing compassion, I urge you to take a step forward now. What act of compassion can you do today?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Strive for Excellence

What a great reminder for all of us with a tendency to seek perfection. Unless you're a brain surgeon or someone who really does need perfection in their work, you can let this compulsion go. You are human and the only person probably expecting you to be perfect is you. Excellence, on the other hand, is more attainable and realistic.

This was today's Real Simple quote of the day (they have a free email newsletter with a daily quote and no, I'm not affiliated with them in any way except that I am a subscriber). I felt like it spoke to me so I made a Paint image out of it and decided to share it with you. I'd love to hear about how you deal with a desire for perfectionism. May God bless you and help you wherever you struggle.

PS For anyone who might not be able to see the quote in the image, here it is: "Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing." - Harriet Braiker.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blooming Hellebores

Today I noticed that our hellebores were blooming so of course I had to take a few photographs. Only two of our six or so hellebore plants are in bloom at the moment but it was a nice sight for January in Maryland. Normally when I first notice flowers on the hellebores there's snow on the ground but today we had spring like temperatures and blue skies that melted away this weekend's snow.

Hopefully some of my white bloomed hellebores will flower soon. Comment below or email me at lovejoypeas@gmail.com if you'd like photographs of the white hellebore flowers. I think hellebores are also called Christmas roses and Lenten roses so you may know them by another name. Hope you enjoy my photographs. May God bless you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Teen Inspires Minimalist Spending

Photo by Chase Miller Photographers
 "I have more money to spend on important items or experiences because I am not constantly buying unneeded things." Chase Miller

Just finished a great article by teen minimalist, photographer and "Surfboard Man" Chase Miller. While I have yet to personally embrace minimalism as a lifestyle I certainly see the wisdom in it, especially as it pertains to unnecessary spending. So many people are drowning in debt because they're buying things they don't really need or love. More of us need to think before we spend. 

I'm a very frugal person but I still go overboard on "good deals" sometimes. Just last week I bought 49 items at Michaels. 49! And I have a whole craft room of things already waiting to be made. These 49 items were only 20 cents each but the fact is that I didn't really need them. We're still repairing the damage to our house caused by November's flood and logically I know I oughtn't be bringing more stuff into the house. So I'm going to adapt Chase's minimalist spending attitude. If I don't need it and it doesn't contribute to a major life goal, I'm not buying it. Prayers and positive thoughts appreciated! May God bless you in your finances and give you wisdom to discern between wants and needs!

Andean Bear Cubs' Birthday Bash

Earlier this month the National Zoo's Andean bear cubs celebrated their birthday. The zoo keepers placed some of their enrichment gifts out in the open and some up in trees. The twin bears appeared to have a great time tearing into their gifts (which included a giant phone book to peruse and shred) and it was a joy to watch them. My husband and I took these photos but we aren't sure who took which as we were passing the camera back and forth while enjoying the brother and sister bear cubs' birthday celebration. I hope these photos make you smile. May God bless you!

Note: According to signs at the zoo, the Andean bear cubs (also called spectacled bears)  are only on view on weekends so if you want to see them I'd recommend visiting on Saturday or Sunday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Creating A Loving Atmosphere Tips

 Photograph by AnitaPatterson

 "A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life." The Dalai Lama

Here are a few tips to create a loving atmosphere in your home.
  • Pray and worship God together.
  • Make kindness the norm and treat each other with respect at all times.
  • Hug each other more often. Small acts of affection build a loving atmosphere.
  • Smile more often. I especially aim to always greet and leave my husband with a smile (and a kiss) - even when I'm just departing for another part of our own home.
  • Make time to have fun together. Those happy memories enhance a loving atmosphere.
  • Create a family bond boosting motto and have fun using it regularly (it can be as simple as "Team [Your Last Name]."
  • Ensure that each member of your family is represented in the decor.
  • Celebrate each others' successes and uniqueness.
I hope you are inspired to boost the loving atmosphere in your home. May God bless you!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Two New Year Haikus Inspired by God and Nature

Photograph by charmaineswart

Spiritual Happy New Year Haiku
A new year is here
Endless possibilities
Boundless grace from God.

Nature Inspired Happy New Year Haiku
A new year is here
Endless possibilities
Appear with the sun.

Wrote these haikus on New Year's day 2012. They're really the same haiku with different endings. I wanted my non Christian friends to be able to enjoy the haiku too so I wrote a second version for them.
I'm still wishing "happy New Year" to my friends that I haven't seen yet in 2012 but this will likely be my last time wishing you, dear reader, a happy New Year. Happiest New Year wishes from my heart to yours! May God bless you during this new year and always!

Top 10 Lessons From Judi Rossi's Lecture "Three Essentials of a Successful Military Wife"

Earlier this week at the Fort Meade Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) kickoff event I enjoyed a lecture by author Judy Rossi. She spoke on the Three Esssentials of a Successful Military Wife. She gave a great lecture, shared her wisdom and made us both laugh and think. Below are my top ten lessons/reminders from the lecture. I hadn't planned on this post so didn't differentiate between her actual quotes and my paraphrases when I took my notes. Hopefully I got the spirit of her lecture right and these notes will be a blessing to you.

1. Revere the Lord and lean on Him at all times.

2. Our husbands should be our #1 ministry.

3. Submitting to Jesus will help in submitting to your husband. Submitting doesn't mean that you're lesser than but that you are recognizing his God given position as head of the household.

4. Learn to be concise in making requests or explanations to your husband.

5. See your husband as a gift from God and his strengths as God given gifts.

6. Disrespect wounds a man deeply. Show him respect at all times.

7. Do only good to your husband, every day and at all times.

8. You can help complete your husband by meeting his needs.

9. Heed your husband's counsel. If you ask for his advice, follow it.

10. Appreciate the differences between male and female (you and your husband) instead of letting them frustrate you.

Once again, I'm reminded that having a right relationship with God leads to right relationships with people, including our husbands. May you grow closer to God today and may God bless you and your relationships!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Free Valentine Coloring Pages

Image source

I was researching free valentine coloring pages for a volunteer activity and thought some of you might also enjoy these free resources. I've included links to six of the websites. I'm sure there are more but these were the ones I personally found most useful. Happy early Valentine's Day!



Two Christian Living Haikus

Christian Living Haiku I
Keep your eyes on Christ
Love God with all your being
Live the golden rule

Christian Living Haiku II
Pray without ceasing
Share the Gospel with people
Love without limits

Enjoyed a wonderful walk in the sunshine today and God gave me these haikus. May they bless and encourage you in your Christian walk!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lime Green Tropical Health Smoothie (Vegan)

We had some extra fresh squeezed orange juice so I thought I'd try a tropically inspired smoothie this morning. Please note that I tend to just throw stuff in the blender so my quantities are estimates. Also I like my smoothies more liquid than thick so if you like yours thick use less water and/or juice. Here's the recipe. 

  • 2 cups fresh baby kale (or greens of your choice)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 small banana 
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple (or use fresh and add a few ice cubes)
  • 1 scoop vegan vanilla pea-rice protein powder (or supplement of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup water
Put first five ingredients in blender. Pour 1/2 cup water over powder in blender. Blend until completely smooth. Enjoy immediately (add ice if you like).
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens' Smoothie Sailing recipe.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Snowy Photos

We had some unexpected snow today so I popped out for a quick photo session. Not sure that it was smart of me but I thought I'd be quick and went without a jacket and just my husband's aerated crocs so the cold was quite invigorating. Amazing to have snow when two days ago it was about 30 degrees warmer and sunny. The first photo is of our snowy holly tree. The second photo I liked because you can see the snow falling in the upper left hand corner and the third photo is of our snowy boxwood bush. Hope wherever you are, whatever the weather, that God will bless you!

Clear Inbox, Clear Mind

Photograph by albertinis69 of morguefile.com

The joy of a clear inbox! I haven't known it since I opened my account years ago. When I first signed up for my gmail account I loved that they said there's no need to delete anything ever. So I didn't. Then sometime last year I realized I had over 30,000 emails. It started to bug me. So I started to delete but they just kept rolling in. Hundreds a day (and this is with a great spam filter). I eventually got them under 20,000 and gave up for a while. After all, I rationalized, I wasn't anywhere near my limit and even if it was mildly irritating it was time consuming to delete 100 at a time when there are so many sitting there.

Then I read Leo Babauta's The Power of Less and started subscribing to his fantastic zenhabits.net website and suddenly I wanted an empty inbox again. I started cancelling unnecessary newsletter subscriptions and became more ruthless with the delete key and, finally, this weekend I got my inbox down to zero. It's fantastic. I have a beautiful ocean scene greeting me once I'm done processing and email is now a pleasant place to visit instead of a harbinger of 30,000 things to do. So I'm going to enjoy this happy moment.

Whatever the state of your inbox, you can take care of it. Whatever big project is on your horizon, you can do it. Just take one step at a time and eventually you'll reach your destination. May God be with you in all you do!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Two Are Better Than One

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 (NLT)

Today as I was slowly driving down a narrow residential street I saw two happy little girls running around in circles with expressions of sheer joy on their faces. It warmed my heart. 

Suddenly they ran right into one another with quite a bit of force and both started to fall down. One of the little girls apparently cared more about her friend than herself and somehow managed to keep herself upright just long enough to reach out and keep her friend from falling. As her friend straightened up she pulled her helper up. Neither one ended up hitting the ground. These 3-4 year old children demonstrated a great Biblical principle from Ecclesiastes.

Two really are better than one! Who can you be a friend to today? Have you ever had a friend save you from harm? I'd love to hear about it! You can comment below or email me at lovejoypeas@gmail.com.

PS: I was tempted to stop and take a photo of these precious inspirational children for this blog post but I doubt many parents take too kindly to strangers asking for photos of their little ones so you get this photo of two lion siblings I look recently at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. They were grooming one another (definitely a friendly gesture).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Free Work From Home Resource Recommendation

Photograph by Ronnieb of morguefile.com
Rat Race Rebellion is a great resource for people looking to work from home. They have a nice variety of technical, service, writing and other jobs as well as links to some other unique job search sites. I like that they pre-screen the job leads and clearly distinguish between the pre-screened job leads and their advertisements in their free e-newsletter. As with anything web based, I still recommend that you exercise caution.  Disclosure: I am not affiliated with Rat Race Rebellion in any way but I have referred them to hundreds of clients.

Today's Job Leads from Rat Race Rebellion:  

Rat Race Rebellion on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RatRaceRebellion

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12 Great Books to Read in 2012

Every year as part of my resolutions/goals for the year I have a goal of reading 50 books during the calendar year. It's usually one of my easy and enjoyable resolutions. This is the first year I've named some specific books as part of my goals. Other than the Bible (listed first), they're in no particular order. The general themes are faith, health and relationships as those are my priorities for this year. Hopefully at least one of the twelve books I've selected will inspire you. 

1. The Bible.  This year my plan is to read it in chronological order using the New American Standard version. No other reading is as important as God's word.

2. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith by Scotty Smith.  This book was a gift from my Pastor brother, Joshua. I've been reading and praying the daily entries before bed. The book was probably meant to be read in the morning but my morning routine's rather full and I wanted something like this for my evening routine.

3. Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes. Late in 2011 I joined a ladies' Bible study and even though they were wrapping up this book I jumped in and joined them on the last three chapters. Now I want to start at the beginning and read the whole thing.

4. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. I forget where but I remember reading that this book had inspired someone greatly and I was intrigued.

5. Mighty Be Our Powers by Lehmah Gbowee and Carol Mithers. After reading an article about Ms. Gbowee I knew I had to read her book and look forward to it.

6. Authentic Relationships: Discover the Lost Art of One Anothering by Wayne Jacobsen.  Came across this while looking for another book and decided I wanted to read it.

7.  Fix Your Feet by Philip Maffetone. I think this one was recommended by www.peertrainer.com and as I have some foot pain and don't feel like seeing the doctor in person I thought I'd read this book first and see if Mr. Maffetone's advice might suffice.

8. Super Immunity by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I've been a fan of Dr. Fuhrman's since reading his Eat to Live book which I bought after reading my library copy (this is a rare thing for me as I'm at maximum book storage capacity in my home and have to purge an item from my collection every time I add one).

9. Love is a Verb: Stories of What Happens When Love Comes Alive by Gary Chapman. His The Five Love Languages book was really eye opening for me so I look forward to this book.

10. Treasured Moments with Mother Graham by Rose Adams and Donna Lee Toney. Hoping that this will read like a dear, faith filled, grandmother imparting her best spiritual advice and lessons.

11. Stage Your Home to Sell (or Keep): Easy Ways to Improve the Value of Your Home by Jean Nayar. It's unlikely that we'll be moving but making the house nicer makes my hubby happy so I consider this part of the relationship category.

12. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health by T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II, Howard Lyman and John Robbins. This book may be one of my main motivators for wanting to pursue a vegan diet. I started reading it in 2011 and thought that I had finished it but as I was neatening a shelf I saw the telltale bookmark sticking out of it and, even though the reading can be challenging, I do want to finish this book this year.

What books are you planning on reading this year? Whatever your reading plans, I wish you the happiest of New Years and pray that God will shine His face and favor upon you!