Monday, May 2, 2016

Mother's Day Gift Ideas Filled with JOY!

Hey friends! God continues to open so many doors to continue the Choose Joy ministry that Sara started during her time with us. He is truly good, all the time.

We have been blessed with the opportunity through Tag You're It Jewelry, to offer people a daily reminder of joy by purchasing a Choose Joy necklace. An added bonus is that it is in Sara's font! Tag You're it Jewelry is also giving a portion of the sales back to the Choose Joy foundation!

Choose Joy will also have a featured section in Positive Note Magazine. A subscription to the magazine is $30 for six issues. If you are wanting to provide someone in your life a positive note, this magazine would be a perfect opportunity!

And of course, gifting someone with the book, Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts. People's lives continue to be impacted through Sara's spirit filled words. You can't go wrong
providing others a reminder of the importance of faith, family and a life of choosing joy!

Just click on the links provided to purchase any of these wonderful gifts. I promise your loved one will find any or all of these gifts a true blessing. If you have any questions or difficulties, feel free to email me at choosejoyfoundation@gmail.com.

Peace.

Laura

Friday, April 29, 2016

Anticipating May

As we come upon the month of May, I have been reflecting on the busyness of the month, as well as the many blessings it brings. The busyness includes, end of the school year kid's programs, graduations, weddings, summer camps and jobs, spring cleaning and yard work... The list goes on and on.

The change and busyness can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and add stress to our lives. 

So, how do we move beyond being overwhelmed and stress? By being grateful!

I have so much to be grateful for in this upcoming month of May...

  1. On May 3rd, I will celebrate my dad's earthly birthday. My dad was such an inspiration to me. I would use every excuse I could think of to be able to ditch the housework and work beside my dad on the farm. I miss him and am so very grateful God chose him for me. It was a true joy to be his daughter.
  2. On May 7th we will move my son and new daughter in law into their first home together. What an exciting time as they begin a new chapter in their lives. I am so proud of them and feel blessed that my son found such a beautiful and godly woman to spend his life with.
  3. On May 8th, Mother's day, I celebrate my mom! A woman who taught me to be strong. A role model not only as a mother, but as a wife. You are a true inspiration to me mom. I love you!!
  4. On May 13th, I will celebrate our sweet Sara's earthly birthday. I was like a 2nd mom to Sara since she was the youngest of 6 and I was the oldest daughter. Even though Sara was the youngest, and her life here on earth was only for 38 years, she accomplished more than most. The lives she changed, the journey she walked and the lessons she taught is a blessing I will forever cherish.
  5. On May 14th, I am blessed to continue Sara's discipleship by sharing God's message using her story as an example of how it is possible to choose joy when life hurts. God continues to open doors and bless us with so many opportunities to continue Sara's spirit lead discipleship.
  6. On May 21st, Mary Carver and I will be hosting a book signing and celebration in Cedar Falls, IA. Cedar Falls is where Sara attended college and lived. We are so blessed to spend time with her community in Cedar Falls, thanking them for loving Sara so well!
I am grateful.

I am filled with joy.

How about you? What do you have to be grateful for as you enter the busy month of May?



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Awaiting Grace


As Christians, we spend a lot of time waiting...

Waiting for His birth.

Waiting for His death.

Waiting for His resurrection.

Waiting for answered prayer.

Our faith is often tested by waiting. Waiting on God means that our life is under His authority and direction. If we move ahead without God's direction, we live in a life of turmoil, anxiety and uncertainty.

Waiting provides us an opportunity to learn. We learn about God's perfect timing and His ability to be in charge of every detail. We so often long for proof, but that is where faith come in. Faith is believing and trusting in God.

Hebrews 11:6 says "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."

As we enter this last week before Easter and continue our wait for Jesus' death and resurrection, I pray for strength. Strength in our faith to trust in His plan and be encouraged in His grace of waiting.

Peace.

Laura

Monday, March 14, 2016

Our Job is to Love

Today the sermon at church was on "Sharing My Faith." As I was listening to Pastor Darrin, I couldn't help but think of Sara.



Pastor Darrin talked about how sharing our faith today is very different than how it has been in the past.  How it is important for us to first listen to others...listen to their story.  Listening requires us to be fully present with others and give them our full and undivided attention. Once we hear their story, it is not our job to judge them and/or save them. It is our job to love them.

God's job is to judge, Jesus job is to save, and our job is to love.

Isn't that awesome! Why do we make our job so difficult? All we have to do is love.

I think Sara was a role model at sharing her faith. She first and foremost loved well! She fully trusted and left the rest up to the One whose job it is to judge and save.

Sara shared her faith by being fully present and listening to the needs of others. She developed relationships and loved them well.  It was through her love of God and others that she was able to impact the lives of others and connect them closer to the one who could bring them peace and joy.

I am so grateful to my little sister for being brave in sharing her faith.

And, I am grateful and blessed to continue this ministry by sharing my faith, here in our lower story, while she is enjoying true joy with Him, in her upper story!

Have a blessed week!

Laura




Monday, March 7, 2016

Our Ultimate Purpose

Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life."  ~John 12:23-25


Since losing dad in 2010 and Sara in 2011, Easter has taken on a new depth of meaning. Those that God blessed us to love and live with here on earth...those that we can't imagine living without, are given eternal life! One day we will live with our heavenly father, and be reunited with our loved ones!



When I'm feeling lost without them, when I long for their giant hug, I can find joy in the blessing that Christ died so we can live.

I also find joy knowing that both dad and Sara lived their life glorifying Him. They lived their life showing people through their actions what it means to give up their own wants, needs and desires for the will of our Father.

God tells us through the above bible verse, that until we die to everything but the Father's will, we will never accomplish the purpose we are living for in the first place. If we truly trust God and have faith in His will for our lives, we should not be afraid to be buried like a seed in the soil of God's will for our lives.

I saw this with both dad and Sara...they were not afraid to give up everything for God's will in their lives and because of that, their faith produced an incredible amount of fruitfulness in their lives. Ultimately the grace and peace of Christ in their lives.

For that, I am eternally grateful and filled with JOY.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Spread the Joy and not the Fear

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster for me...

I am filled with JOY over the response we are receiving from individuals whose lives have been positively impacted after reading Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts. It is truly a humbling experience to continue Sara's legacy of teaching people how joy can be found through faith and trust in our heavenly Father's promises.

Even though I am filled with Joy, I find myself at times with tears that don't seem to want to stop. Continuing Sara's legacy is such a humbling experience and includes the ability to also live her life Goals. The life goal that has been going through my mind lately is to "Spread the Joy and not the fear." I pray that God's message of Joy through Sara's story will continue to bless others and bring them joy in a world filled with so much fear.

Before Sara began her journey to heaven, she placed her hand on my shoulder and said, "When you need me, close your eyes and feel my hand on your shoulder. I will be with you." I have been closing my eyes and praying to feel her hand gently on my shoulder...and yet I don't feel her like I want to. The struggle of my head knowing that she is with me and my heart so desperately wanting to feel her, to talk to her, to celebrate with her.

Today, I not only felt her hand on my shoulder, I heard her whisper words of encouragement. You see, today Sara sent an Angel of encouragement to me...

I received a note of encouragement with some precious choose joy graphics and a picture of me and my angel friend, Rachel Lundy. It's as if she new exactly what I needed.

I learned from my sweet sister, Sara to always act on those whispers that come into your mind and heart, because they are the whispers of the Holy Spirit talking to us. Thank you, Rachel, for listening to those whispers...you blessed me with exactly what I needed, when I needed it!

Do you follow through with the whispers you hear? I encourage you to...I promise you will make a difference for someone!

Peace.

Laura




Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Friendship...A gift of Love


I was blessed to receive "The Gift of Friendship" from Dawn Camp in the mail this past week. With the book was a beautiful note letting me know that Dawn was blessed to call Sara friend. It is humbling to hear from so many people who were blessed by Sara and I want each of you to know what a true blessing you were to her as well.

Sara was a true friend to others. She blessed others by being fully present with them and making their needs and desires her priority. Sara wholly cared for people.

Her friends included people she had known since childhood, as well as people she had never personally met. Below is an excerpt from the book, Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts, talking about how God blessed her with the right friends at the right time...

I never cease to be amazed how, in every stage of my life, God has opened my heart to so many friendships. I love that I have friends who make me laugh until I cry. I love that some of my friends are so shy, until they get comfortable, and then they shock the life out of me with things they say or do. I love that some friends are intellectual and planners. I love that other friends go totally on emotion and spontaneity abounds. I have friends who are so much like me I think we may be the same person, and I have friends who are so opposite of me they keep me looking at life from different angles. I love that God knew I needed all of it and placed me right where I needed to be to find each and every one of them.

Here's a cool thing about my life... at every stage I have met great friends, the kind that are life-long, even-when-you-haven't-talked-in-a-year kind of friends where things are natural and you always wish the best for each other. I am crazy blessed with a lot of those kind of friends.

But I also have a number of people in my life who are soul mate kind of friends. These are the people that I can maybe remember the first time I met them, but have no idea how we got from saying hello to knowing each other backward and forward because getting to that point usually took only one conversation.

Each of these friends are such an essential part of my day-to-day life. They are the ones who so effortlessly let me live vicariously through them and their families, making my life feel absolutely whole and complete. I've not only been welcomed into their families but their extended families as well. I get to be a part of their kids' lives, but more importantly they don't mind that I love their kids like my own. They put up with the crazy dog and come hang out at my place with me anyway, and the ones who live far away keep in touch like we live just down the block. 

I am blessed, people.