2020 Year of JOY

2020 included many reasons to be discouraged. Pandemic isolation, advanced lung disease, lengthy hospitalization, 55th anniversary plans changed, birthday and wedding plans cancelled, death of friend, and miscarriage.

However,  the word “Joy” kept showing up in devotionals, scripture, and teachings. Great joy, joy unspeakable, reckless joy, the joy of the Lord is my strength, intimate joy, surprised by joy, and Secret joy.

God prepared my journey of joy in late 2019 at a Women of Joy Conference. Nervous about leaving my husband by himself, I ventured out with ladies from my church. We had a great weekend of teaching, worship and yes, JOY!

Friday, the worship songs were too contemporary for this 70+ gal. But on Saturday night Michael W. Smith led worship and all the songs were familiar and favorites. I was able to release the heavy concern for my husband and the “what ifs” of the future and worship. The reckless love of God overwhelmed me and allowed God to flood my soul.

My journal records – “Thank you Lord for showering me with that overwhelming, never ending reckless love of God, I didn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, yet you gave yourself to me. Thank you for touching my inmost being with your spirit. And thank you for taking care of John while I was gone.” (Even though when I returned, he had not been able to get TV remote to work most of weekend and too embarrassed to call anyone for help.)

Christmas brought a gift from our granddaughter and her husband for a family photo shoot. Pure joy. Next day golf with son and grandson added to my joy.

Then on January 1, 2020, changed the calendar cube and noticed the scripture on the bottom.

 Psalm 126:3  The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Opening my prayer journal to favorite verses noticed that most contained the word joy. Most favorite –

3 John 1:1-4 
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Then these two entries:

12/21/19 – Father God being in your presence is my joy.  There is nothing like knowing you and the peace you give.  My desire is for our sons and grandchildren to know that joy and peace.

1/7/20 – It is a joy to Jesus when we are intimate with him – never lonely, never need sympathy – never leave impressions of ourselves but only that Jesus is having his way with us. Hallelujah! That is joy.

Photos from 2020 show much joy experienced even though most of our plans failed. 

So, my friends, (as my husband would say when he preached) you can experience the joy of the Lord even in the presence of challenging times. He is our joy.

Jude 24-25

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great JOY into his glorious presence without a single fault.  All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!


Spring time in the mountains at Butternut Golf Course.

Playing golf is much more relaxing and much more fun than cleaning house, washing windows or weeding the flower or vegetable garden.

This is how I planned to spend retirement after a wonderful twenty-five years working at Young Harris College.  

How many retirees have said, “I don’t know how I had time to work!”
Well, it is true.  I have been much more busy than expected since retirement two years ago.  I really don’t know how I had time to work a full time job and also keep up with cooking, housework, and volunteering at church and community.
My scheduled now includes the above as well as golf, gardening, canning, freezing, volunteering at church food cottage and writing a book with my husband about God’s strength in our weakness.  Neither golf nor gardening were in my schedule back then and my house was cleaner when I was gainfully employed.  The common thought is “Well, I can do that tomorrow or the next day!”
Playing golf was always my dream but because of work I never had time to learn much less play.  Now my husband and I try to play golf at least once a week.  My golf pro son gives me a lesson when we visit his family in MI or he visits us.  Improvement is twenty-two strokes getting to the first hole to about seven.  My first comment was that I got more exercise than others since I had more swings with the club. Recently I accomplished my first birdie (one under par)!
Back to Eden gardening became a passion after visiting Evergreen friends in Indiana in November 2012.  My husband built a fortress seven feet high around our garden.  Neighbors thought he was building a house when the first posts went in the ground.  God blessed our efforts and we had an abundant harvest – much more than expected – I canned and froze vegetables all summer long.
I promised my husband that I would not volunteer for anything the first year of retirement.  He knows how I like to get involved.  My freedom to sleep in the first few months was great.  Time to read my Bible much more than my regular thirty minutes was wonderful.  A regular exercise program helped me keep active and fit.  Then my husband got us involved working at our church’s food cottage.  A couple of volunteers were out for the winter and he was asked if we could fill in for them November through April.  Not a problem!  Now two years later I am still volunteering in the office of the Food Cottage.  But what a blessing this work has been and some really wonderful people to work with.
My husband and I have been composing stories about our lives and ministry to leave for our children and grandchildren and retirement was supposed to be the time to “write it.”  Joining a writing club was my attempt to jump start the process.   However, this seemed to add another meeting and travel time was stealing from my time at the computer.


Finally I resigned from two of my volunteer activities and am focusing more on my writing.  Joining COMPEL with Proverbs 31 Ministries  has already helped me “write it.”  Blogging is my attempt to get my creative writing juices flowing so that the “book” will be not only historical for my descendants but also showing how HIS story influenced our lives and blessed us much more that we could think or imagine!