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Today I will be as happy as a bird with a french fry.

– unknown

It's 9 a.m. in Armenia and 1 a.m. in Montreal as I write this week's newsletter. Our big ministry commitments are all done, and we're down to our last two full days before the long trip home (sweet home!) I've loved our time here: We connected with many, many, many lovely people that I'll miss, and we've been treated to stunning views of the mountainous landscapes as we've driven from village to village. But I also miss my home, my family, my church, my neighbours, my own routines, my familiar shops, my work, and, of course, my little Buttercup! 🐱

Naturally, we've faced challenges here with some differences in culture, language, climate, etc. and it's not easy—especially for an introvert like me who lives alone and works at home—to be "on" and sociable for most of the day, day in day out, for three weeks. But I decided, before I even left Montreal, to keep my attitude as positive as possible, and to focus on the blessings God had in store for us instead of on the difficulties. It worked! I'll share a few more thoughts on choosing joy below.


By the way, don't forget about this month's prize draw! Click here to answer the question and enter your name.


BOOKS: I picked up a copy of National Geographic Memory: What It Is, How It Works, and Ways You Can Improve It while in the Paris airport en route to Armenia. It's a fascinating and easy to read resource that explains how our memories work and why they sometimes fail. 

At the Tuesday night Bible studies at my church, we always start with 15 or 20 minutes or singing and everyone has a chance to pick a favourite song out of the hymnbook. We've been using this particular book since my late teens and I have a knack for remembering numbers so I can sometimes guess the title of a song when someone calls out the number, or I can recall the number if they give the title.

One Tuesday a few years ago, I must have gone to Bible study with a bit of a bad attitude because I caught myself grumbling when someone asked for a hymn by its title and everyone turned to me. I thought, "Why can’t anyone else ever look it up in the index!?" 

Still, being the pastor’s daughter and all, I did a quick search and called out the page number while I flipped through my own hymnbook. And then it suddenly hit me. OUCH!

The song that had been chosen was Joy in Serving Jesus. I couldn’t even look up a hymn number for someone without grumbling. How could I say I was serving Jesus with joy? Yeah. That one stung a bit. But in a good way.

The problem with grumbling is it never resolves anything. It makes us miserable and, more often than not, makes others around us miserable, too. No matter our circumstances, we can always choose our response to them. Joy is not the result of having a trouble-free life, but the result of putting our hope in something bigger and greater: the certainty that God loves us and has a purpose for our lives, even if we aren't sure what that is at the moment. 

I love this encouragement from the Bible: "So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." (1 Corinthians 15:58)


Here's a neat bit of trivia that I just discovered today: Joy in Serving Jesus was written in 1931 by Oswald J. Smith, a Canadian who lived from 1889 to 1986!

whimsy & wisdom from the world wide web

I normally can't stand the sound of chewing but I've made an exception for this panda. 🐼 

Five years ago, I was interviewed by Robert White, a Canadian journalist who passed away last March. We had a good chat about the concept behind my book, Restore My Soul, and how it nurtures both our creative and spiritual sides. 

Download this 16-page PDF from Focus on the Family, which contains "articles and resource suggestions to help you identify and deal with stress – or even burnout – in your life. Within these 16 pages, you’ll learn to understand the difference between stress and burnout, what boundaries you need to set at work, how you can take responsibility for your well-being as an individual, how you and your spouse can manage stress together, and ways you as a parent can ease stress in your own life and the lives of your children."

SPLENETIC

(adj.) affected or marked by ill humour or irritability

God didn't remove the Red Sea; He parted it. Sometimes God doesn't remove your problems, but He makes a way through them.

– unknown

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