Friday, April 15, 2011

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

by Suzie Johnson
It seems like there is a lot of unhappiness going around these days. I know it’s been that way since Adam and Eve tried to hide from God after eating the apple, but sometimes doesn’t it seem like it’s worse now than it ever has been? I guess that’s because the world today is our reality and not something we’re reading about in history.

But God didn’t intend for us to be unhappy. If he did, he wouldn’t have created the garden for Adam and Eve. He wouldn’t have promised hope, mercy, grace, and no tears in heaven. And he definitely wouldn’t have sacrificed his son to wash us clean of our unworthiness.

·         by 13dede at

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 talks about joy being God’s gift to man. Jeremiah 31:13 mentions rejoicing in dance, being merry and of God bringing us joy. I Corinthians 2:9-10 says our hearts can’t even imagine what God has prepared for those who love him. I Timothy 6:17 tells us that God richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.” ~Ecclesiastes 8:15

I’ll be the first to admit I like my material things. And if you were sitting in the room with me right now, you’d hear the biggest heartfelt sigh. I so want to live in Christ’s will. I don’t want to be materialistic. I want to look beyond new purses and electronic gadgets and see the true gifts from God. The small things, things that might seem insignificant to others, things that are meant to bring us joy.

Among my favorite things are books, music, lavender fields, and the beach. Take any of those things away from me, and I don’t know what I’d do. And then, of course, there’s my son with his sharp wit, his Seinfeld-ish sense of humor, and his incredible talent for playing the piano and guitar. Sometimes I try to think back to the days before he was born, and can’t even imagine what my life was like before he was here to fill it up. He’s definitely not a small delight or simple pleasure. He is undoubtedly my greatest joy.

by by shho at

A couple of nights ago, my husband and I drove down to the beach to eat sandwiches. He spent a long time throwing our leftover crusts to the seagulls. But he didn’t just roll down the window and throw them out. He held one piece at a time out the window and coaxed a one-legged seagull to take each bite from his hand. Just watching him, and the joy it gave him, flooded my heart with warmth. I love seeing that special childlike part of him that appears when he’s talking to our little cat, teaching her to fetch or to speak. These are such simple things, and yet they bring him immeasurable happiness.

One dark, gloomy morning as I was driving to work, people called in to the radio station to share their favorite things. I was anxiously wishing they’d get back to the music when I heard the cutest little voice come through the radio. The little boy sounded about seven or eight years old. Listening to him, I could picture a chubby faced boy with a huge grin and sparkling eyes. He said his favorite thing was when he worshiped God at school. The radio DJ fell silent for a few seconds before finally asking how he worshipped God at school. Quite matter-of-factly, the boy said, “Well, I just hold up my arms and sing, ‘na, na, na, na, na.’”

The DJ laughed and went on to the next caller, but the infectious spirit of that little boy kept me smiling the entire day. I’ll never forget his little voice, and I’ll never forget his words because they filled me with a longing for everyone in the world to be filled with the kind of pleasure that comes from worshipping God with such innocence and abandon.

These are the things that add a special quality to our life. They’re vital to maintaining a spirit of joy. Perhaps this is why God provides them for us to seek out and enjoy each day.

What makes you smile and fills your heart with pleasure? What simple joys do you find in your day-to-day life?

Suzie Johnson has won several awards for her inspirational novels (writing as Susan Diane Johnson), including the Maggie, Lone Star, Heart of the West, and Beacon awards, as well as finaling in the Touched by Love, Finally A Bride, Linda Howard Award for Excellence, and Virginia Fool For Love contests. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is a cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man who makes her proud every day, she lives with her husband and little kitten on an island in the Pacific Northwest. And although the beaches are rocky instead of sandy, lined with Madronas and Evergreens instead of Palm trees, and the surf is much to cold for wading, it is still the perfect spot for writing romantic fiction. You can visit her blog, Suzie's Writing Place at


  1. Spending time with my grandchildren forces me to slow down and put my things aside and that is so important. Having grandchildren is such a blessing and makes up for the changes in our health and the sad things that we've seen over a lifetime.

    Even when I'm not with them, I can smile over the memories of the last time.
    And - today starts a good 10 days of 'family' time! Hurray!

  2. Suzie, I have long thought that Edision's phonograph was one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. It's hard for us to imagine that until about 100 years ago, most people's only got to listen to a piano, pump organ, or small band of 4-5 instruments -- and then only rarely. People who didn't live in large cities (most of North America) never got a chance to hear Bach on a large pipe organ, or an orchestra perform a Mozart symphony, or a choir singing the Hallelujah chorus. How blessed I am that I can listen to the world's greatest music at the mere push of a button!

    We live in the age of instant media, which usually focuses on the bad and tragic. Thank you for the reminder to consider our blessings.

  3. What a wonderful subject. I think people forget that when we enjoy life, we are enjoying God and his creation. That just romping through the fields or playing with our children can be an act of praise, that relaxing on the beach or watching a beautiful sunset can be an act of worship. Worship is life and life is worship. We don't always need to be separating the two. This is a theme in all of my books.

  4. Oh, Deb, now I have a new reason to long for grandchildren. I always thought of babies as a blessing, but never for the reasons you've just said. I love it.

    I'm wishing you a wonderful,safe, and blessed vacation.

  5. Edison was such a gift to the world, wasn't he? Can you imagine what it was like to hear a phonograph for the first time? I wonder what Edison's reaction would be if he could hear the way his invention has blossomed?

    Thanks CJ! I'm so thankful for the ability to listen to music this way, too.

  6. Dina, I think people forget, too. I think it's so easy to get caught up in everyday busyness and it doesn't take long before that kind of thing wears us down and makes us forget. I love what you said. Worship is life and life is worship. Amen to that! Thank you, Dina.

  7. Suzie--thanks for the reminder to look for the simple joys.

    I joy in my home. Not in a spotless, decorated house, but in a cozy,loving place for my small family to gather, connect, and relax. I didn't have that growing up, and I appreciate it even more now.

  8. Oh, Barb, a cozy loving home is so much more important than a spotless, perfectly decorated house. I'm so glad you have a loving environment for your family. I love cozy and warm vs spotless and designed. When my son was little, I spent way more time with him than I did cleaning the house. I saved cleaning for nap-time and when he was playing with his friends. We made so many good memories, and I'm so thankful for that time in my life.

  9. Great post, Suzie. Simple joys in my life are:

    - the birds in the trees that surround the farm yard, fly overhead in migration and sing on prairie fences

    - the faux-loon call hubby makes whenever he feels like it, whether its during a commercial in our living room or walking across a parking lot in the city. He's done it since the day I met him and the kids call it his mating call. LOL

    - the boys laughing over a silly YouTube video or TV show

    - Nick and Nelson practicing to lead worship

    - watching my daughter sing on a YouTube she sent via Facebook

    - skyping with our daughter

    - hubby reading his Bible

    - too many to share here. :D

    Anita Mae.

  10. Anita, this is a lovely list. :-) I have to tell you, you hubby's faux-loon call made me laugh. I can totally see it because my husband has duck and goose calls and crow calls and... well, I'm sure you get the picture. :-) If we're driving sown the road and there are ducks or geese in a field, he pulls over, rolls down the window and starts talking (calling?) To them.

  11. Thank you thank you thank you! What an inspiring post!

    It comes at an excellent time. My hubs and I are trying to stick to our budget and meet our financial goals. I took the kids out to buy Easter outfits. Founds theirs for $6.50 each! But decided to pass on buying a new dress for myself. I have 4 or 5 dresses in my closet so I can wear one of those. I just kept telling myself, "Self, aren't you glad your treasure is in the kingdom?"

    I got home about 10 minutes before reading this.

  12. Beautiful post, Suzie. And quite timely for me. I'm now making a Gratitude List every evening.

    This morning I experienced a joy: I was looking out the front window at the weather and saw a hummingbird zip around. Always fun to watch, but then s/he settled into the tree right by the window, and I realized there was a nest there! Yipee! I felt so lucky! I get to see tiny baby hummingbird heads soon!

    My husband whistles. I love it. It's so cheerful. :-)

    Thanks, Suzie. Loved the post.

  13. Sometimes all it takes is a quiet moment to myself to make me realize how blessed I truly am.

  14. Bex, I'm so glad my post inspired you and came at just the right time. Let me tell you, the post and the timing were both God inspirations, not Suzie inspirations. :-)

    Hooray on the great deal on your kids' outfits. Clothes are so terribly expensive, aren't they? Even for the little ones.

    I know whatever you wear, you will be beautiful and will have a wonderful Easter. Thanks for stopping by, Bex, and inspiring me with your comments.

  15. Susie, a Gratitude list? I love it! I think I'll have to do the same thing. I think it goes a long way toward attitude adjustments. Heaven knows I need one of those once in a while. If you read my blog today, you'll know exactly what I mean. Gratitude list, here I come. Thanks for the tip.

    Baby hummingbirds? Oh, how amazingly awesome. I have never seen a baby hummingbird that I know of. And you'll get to see them from their first breath. Wow. I hope you'll be able to capture some photos to share, without scaring them. I can't imagine how tiny the babies will be. Oooh, this is so cool.

  16. Faye, I'm so glad you stopped by. You know what? You're exactly right about those quiet moments. I need them, too, and they truly do help center our focus on God and he turns around and opens our eyes to our blessings. I am quite certain that's part of why Jesus showed us the example of going off by himself. Have a blessed day, and thanks for blessing me with your comment.


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