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Open this book each morning, and let the "Queen of Encouragement" splash your day with joy.
Acclaimed encourager Barbara Johnson has survived tragic adversity to become a merry missionary of mirth to those who need a little laughter in their lives―that is, to all of us! She knows firsthand how the smallest splash of joy can soothe broken hearts with the light of God's love. And she's seen how a simple message of hope uplifts a life that's left ...
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Open this book each morning, and let the "Queen of Encouragement" splash your day with joy.
Acclaimed encourager Barbara Johnson has survived tragic adversity to become a merry missionary of mirth to those who need a little laughter in their lives―that is, to all of us! She knows firsthand how the smallest splash of joy can soothe broken hearts with the light of God's love. And she's seen how a simple message of hope uplifts a life that's left in tatters.
In these pages you'll find a daily dollop of Barbara's favorite jokes, heartwarming stories, witty cartoons, and heartache-survival strategies. Share a moment each morning with the Geranium Lady, and soon you, like Barbara, will realize you've been "blessed to be a blessing."
Splashing Each Day with Joy
Oh, that we all might have the happy demeanor of an old lady in the nursing home where my sister, Janet, visits to play the piano for the residents. One week the feisty, ninety-three-year-old woman told Janet, "I wake up in the morning, sit on the edge of the bed, put my feet on the floor, and say to myself, `I know who I am ... I know what day it is. And then I say, `Well, PRAISE the Lord!'"
Starting each morning with an attitude of gratitude—no matter what the circumstances—can splash joy over the rest of your day. The moment your eyelids flutter open, remind yourself to whisper the old lady's jubilant prayer: Praise the Lord! Say it out loud with a smile on your face, and you might just be surprised at the difference it makes in your morning.
Force yourself to smile as you make your way to the bathroom so that when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, you're ready for that first laugh of the day. (This may be easier for some of you than others, depending on what appears in that mirror!) Look for joy gems sparkling in all the dark corners as the hours pass.
A relaxed attitude lengthens a man's life.
(Proverbs 14:30 TLB)
Some people spread joy wherever they go—whether or not they mean to! And some of us have to put forth a little effort to keep a smile in our hearts. Others are never happy unless they're complaining about something. I got a note from a woman who had a friend like that. Luckily,thewoman who wrote to me could see the humor even in having such a pessimistic friend. She wrote, "My friend Irene is always complaining! I took her to a greeting-card store the other day, and she looked and looked and looked.
"Finally, I said, `Irene, what in the world are you looking for?'
"She replied, `I'm looking for a card that says, "I had what you've got—only WORSE?"'"
This is the same witty woman who told me her horoscope predicted one morning that she was going to have an adventure involving water. "And then," she continued, "I dropped my false teeth in the toilet!"
I am wonderful, marvelous, extraspecial, unique, first-rate, exceptional, outrageous, surprising, superlative—and, above all, HUMBLE.
The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.... The LORD is a warrior; the Lord is his name. (Exodus 15:2—3)
Hardening of the heart ages people more quickly than hardening of the arteries.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
I talk to many gals who go through the year without receiving a nice, gift-wrapped present with their own name on it. There is a fabulous remedy for this problem. Right after the first of the year (when most stores have sales) find a store that sells nice little gifts and does courtesy gift-wrapping. Pick out at least five presents for yourself to cover your birthday, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, wedding anniversary, and Christmas. They needn't be costly, but they should be something you like.
Bring your presents home and place them around the house in prominent spots where you'll have to move them as you clean. That way they get shifted around so much you'll forget what is in which package. Then each one is a surprise when you open it! This idea works beautifully. When anyone asks you what your husband gave you for your birthday or anniversary or your kids gave you for Mother's Day, you can proudly show them the lovely gift that you "received." (You don't have to tell everything you know!)
Life is a gift. Unwrap your present!
He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15 NKJV)
One day I noticed a car parked at the La Habra post office with a license plate that said, "2 BUM NEZ." I thought, That's so cute—the guy probably has arthritis or something.
As I tore around the car with my arms full of things to mail, I called out, "Oh, I just LOVE your license plate!" Someone was helping him out of the car and suddenly I saw that he didn't have any legs! Talk about hoof-and-mouth disease! But he put me at ease by saying, "I'm glad you like it. My wife said I should get one that says, `NO LEGS,' but I would rather have folks get a chuckle out of it like you did than have them feel sorry for me."
I love that dear man's attitude. It beautifully illustrates one of my favorite mottoes: Pain is inevitable but misery is optional!
May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.
How well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times. (Ephesians 1:8 TLB)
It was one of those days when everything had gone wrong. Preparing to leave town for a speaking engagement, I hurried to the supermarket to-stock up on a few things I would need for the trip. Naturally, I got a dumb basket with wheels going in different directions. As I made my way to the checkout counter, I felt completely forsaken when I saw the checkout line filled with women who apparently were shopping for the U.S. Army.
"Please, Lord!" I prayed. "I need just a LITTLE encouragement today."
Just then a man stepped into an empty checkout stand and said, "Young lady, I'll be glad to check you out over here!"
I looked around. Then I looked at the clerk. Why, he was talking to me!
Maybe it was the young lady part that lifted my spirits. But mostly I think it was knowing I wasn't forsaken. I believe he opened that line just for me. What a simple way to be reminded of God's continual care.
Frogs have it easy. They can eat what's bugging them!
Be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here. These trials are only to test your faith. (1 Peter 1:6 TLB)
We can hope for a miracle, but there is no simple, quick way to be young, thin, and lovely. As the years zoom by, you begin to think you're in a war to keep your mind together, your body functioning, your teeth in, your hair on, and your weight off. It can really be a chore. It's a lot like trying to hold a beachball under water ... sooner or later something pops up or out! That's why my favorite excuse is, "I used to be Snow White ... but I drifted!"
Aging gracefully means living long enough to make a joke of the things that were once breaking your heart.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Tears and heartaches come to us all. They are part of living, but Jesus Christ can ease the heartache. Give God the pain and sorrow; give Him the guilt you feel.
And remember, you are not alone; many are in God's waiting room for what seems like forever, learning lessons, suffering pain, and growing. But the fertilizer that helps us grow is in those valleys, not on the mountaintops.
The iron crown of suffering precedes the golden crown of glory. Real, genuine healing is a process. It takes a long time for deep hurts to be resolved.
No, life isn't always what you want, but it's what you've got; so, with God's help, CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY.
Laughter is the invisible armor to protect us from the stresses of life.
He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)
One of my Bible heroes is Onesiphorus, the man who the apostle Paul said, "often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains" (2 Timothy 1:16). He encouraged Paul when the aging apostle was weary and lonely by letting him know there was still someone who cared. The Living Bible translation says Onesiphorus's visits revived Paul "like a breath of fresh air."
Sure, Onesiphorus is a somewhat obscure character. He's only mentioned once in the entire Bible—and his name sounds like a disease, to boot! But when I get to heaven, I'm going to look him up and tell him I've spent a great part of my life trying to be like him.
A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love, and encourages you with hope.
I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands. (Psalm 31:14-15)
I was on a plane one time reading Billy Graham's book Facing Death and the Life Hereafter. The person in the seat next to me said, "Oh, what an awful book you're reading—how depressing!"
I just laughed and said, "It's not depressing. It's exciting. It's a wonderful book."
"Do you have cancer or something?" he asked.
I explained that we all have an incurable disease with a high mortality rate. It' s called life. We're all going to die. We're on our way out of here, and it's a one-way trip. Billy Graham's book reminds us why Christians can face death with joy, not gloom. Facing death is really the ultimate triumph for a Christian.
Whatever problems we're going through, they didn't come to stay; they "came to pass." And that helps us cope, whether it's cancer or problems in our marriages or with our children. We know that what's up ahead is going to be glorious because of the hope we have as Christians.
This bumper sticker explains why I'm a perpetual failure at dieting: EAT RIGHT, STAY FIT ... DIE ANYWAY!