"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


The room sparked with excitement as guests passed the word, “She’s here! She’s here!” Peeking out the window, we could see the car carrying the guest of honor as it slowly approached the entrance to the building. As the guests stood to their feet, Merri came through the door and the whole room erupted in a chorus of “Surprise!”  It was hard to tell who was more ecstatic – the guests or the honoree.

Dottie, Merri and Jewel in the Funny Picture Booth
               The event was Merri’s 40th birthday celebration. Crepe paper streamers and other decorations were hung in such a way the room was transformed into a carnival. Game centers placed around the room kept the party goers entertained as they moved freely from one to the other. Some spent their time in the beanbag toss area, while others played Pin the Party Hat on Merri.
A Funny Picture booth kept everyone laughing as hats, boas, glasses, and other paraphernalia truly did make for some funny pictures.  “Dottie” and “Jewel,” Christian clowns, helped convey the carnival theme. Balloon hats and animals helped put everyone in a festive mood. Bingo and line dancing were popular, too. For the last activity, all the guests went outside for a Silly String fight. What a battle!
Merri's special birthday hat
Merri spends her weekdays working at the Vocational Rehabilitation Workshop. Local businesses support the workshop by contracting with them to have repetitive tasks, sub-assemblies and sorting done by workshop participants. The workshop also teaches life skills to its clients. Other than family, Merri’s party guests were her friends from the workshop and a group home.
Merri dancing with friends
It was a delight for Dottie and Jewel, to spend time with people who know how to take pleasure in the tiniest things – getting a beanbag in the hole (or even close to the hole), dancing with friends, sharing lunch conversations, wearing a funny balloon hat, playing with silly string. One of Merri’s friends asked us for a picture. When Dottie gave it to her, it became an occasion for jumping and clapping and an exclamation of, “This is my lucky day. I can’t believe you gave me a picture. I can’t believe this. Thank you.” My heart was warmed and filled with great joy that such a small gesture made such a big difference to someone.
What do you do in your life for the pure joy of it? What small gesture could you make this week to brighten someone’s day? Please share with my readers.
Go out with joy and spill it on the world around you-
Cathy (a.k.a. “Jewel”)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

God Loves Ducks, and Me

Emma at dance practice
               On May 4, 2012, I had a deep theological conversation with my four year old granddaughter, Emma. Before we left the house, we had been reading a book about ducks and she was quite interested in the fact that ducks don’t get wet in the water. As I fastened her into her car seat we were talking about other things and I thought we had exhausted the duck subject.
               As we pulled out onto the main road into town, Emma asked, “Why do ducks don’t get wet, Grandma?” and this is how the conversation went from there:
Grandma – “That’s just the way they are made” I said, thinking she would recall what we’d just read.
Emma – “Ducks were made?” she said in amazement.
G – “You know who made ducks.”
E – “God. And He made me.”
G – “That’s right.” 
            E – “Why does God like ducks and me?”

G – “Because He made you and ducks and He likes everything He made.”
E – “Even the bad men?”
G – “He even likes the bad men because He made them, too. He is hoping one day they will turn back into the good men they were when He created them.”
E – “Oh.”
And then we were through and moved on to other topics. Isn’t it amazing how a child’s mind works? In a few brief moments we moved from a dry duck in the water to God and creation and on to the condition of the world. It all came to an abrupt stop with one simple word, “Oh.”
Just two days later the Sunday School lesson was about building a firm foundation for the future by using every present opportunity as a learning/teaching experience. Here’s how the Bible puts it in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV):
“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
I am overwhelmed that God trusts me to spread His Word to the little ones around me. It amazes me that I am Plan A when it comes to telling people about Jesus, and there is no Plan B. I am charged with building on the sure foundation that others have faithfully left for today’s generation. God is giving me opportunities to do just that. God has faith in me and I have faith in Him. And that brings me great joy!
May God bless you and keep you
May His face shine upon you
And give you peace and joy-


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sweetly Smiling Maidens in Aprons

As several friends entered the large room together, a young girl came running up to her mother. The girl’s eyes were sparkling and her face was alive with pride as she said, “Momma, I cooked pancakes.” Her mother heaped praise on the girl as she ushered us to the serving table. This was the Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Fundraiser for the local Girl Scout Troop.

            We each filled our plates with pancakes, sausage, and agonized over our choices of syrup including homemade strawberry and blueberry. At the end of the serving line, eager Girl Scouts were waiting to help with drinks.
            Each girl, adorned in a cute little apron, was excited to be there, more than willing to help where help was needed, and to make each guest who came to support them feel welcome. Young ladies taking their assignments seriously refilled our drinks quickly.
Second and third servings were offered and encouraged. The girls would even bring it to you, so you didn’t have to get up. When we had finally eaten our fill (or more), the girls whisked our dirty dishes away and cleaned the table.
There was enjoyable conversation among friends while we waited for the Silent Auction forms to be snatched up signaling the last chance to bid was over. The prizes were awarded to the winning bidders. When the tally for the night was announced, the girls had earned $1,500.00, a good reward for the busy little bees to use for special projects the rest of this year.
            I am proud to know some of the local leaders and their passion for training girls to be future successes and leaders in whatever career they chose. These ladies are to be commended for their dedication, but they aren’t doing it for that. Theirs is a heart of love for girls. They give up some of their personal time to lead these girls, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks, Ladies!
100th Anniversary Trefoil
            The Girl Scout organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. They hold a long tradition of preparing girls for the future. Their Promise, Law, and Slogan speak to their focus:
The Girl Scout Promise:
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law
The Girl Scout Law:
I will do my best to be
Honest and Fair,
Friendly and Helpful,
Considerate and Caring,
Courageous and Strong, and
Responsible for what I say and do,
And to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

The Girl Scout Slogan
"Do a Good Turn Daily"

            Do you know a Girl Scout Leader? Send her a note of thanks for what she is doing for America’s future. That can be your good turn for today. Volunteer to help with a troop activity, sharing your special expertise with the Girls.
Local Girl Scouts on an outing
            Do you know a Girl Scout? Encourage her to stay in Scouts and benefit from the entire program. Support her when you can – buying cookies, helping with expenses, or telling her about your time in scouting if you were a scout.
            I have fond memories of that night when the sweetly smiling faces of maidens in aprons and their leaders took the time to feed me and make me feel special – and that brings me joy!

 May your days be filled with joy moments-