What Does Jesus Want for Christmas?

muchjoytoyou

I saw something on Facebook recently asking what Jesus wants this Christmas. I didn’t read the post or watch the attached video, but the idea stuck. In fact, the idea won’t leave me alone. Hmmm.

Finally realizing this must be the Holy Spirit at work, I paused one Sunday and asked Him what He wanted.

I know this is a busy, crazy, festive, holy, chaotic, stressful, blessed time of year. I know you still have shopping or baking or wrapping to do. I know you don’t have time to get still before God. Do it anyway.

Right now, put the iPad down, mute the tv, go find a quiet corner, and ask Him. Then wait. He WILL answer you.

And the truth is He really just wants you-time with you, a relationship with you, your heart….

As always, I wish you MUCH joy.

Today let this truth sink in…

View original post 37 more words

Another GOOD morning 

 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

~ Psalm 118:24

Recently, I shared a post on how I go about having a GOOD morning. I wrote this after a (mostly) sleepless night. As soon as I hit post, I realized I’d left a few things off. Do you do that? Invariably I see errors as I hit send on emails and texts. Oh well….

The thing is…

God isn’t a needy, insecure diety, demanding my praise and admiration. Oh no! He is Daddy God, King of Kings!! Praising Him is for my benefit. When I thank and praise God, I am reminded how BIG my God is and how small my giants are. I’m reminded of ALL that He is and  ALL that He’s done. When I praise Him I remind myself and my defeated enemy that GOD is:

  • My King
  • My Lord
  • My Savior
  • My Healer
  • My Refuge
  • My Strength 
  • My Source
  • My Provider
  • My Father
  • My Counselor
  • My Friend
  • My Consoler
  • My Peace
  • My Joy
  • My Wisdom
  • My Guide
  • My Teacher
  • My Love
  • My Hope
  • My Protection
  • My Shield
  • My Provision
  • My Hiding Place
  • My Companion
  • My Creator
  • My Purpose
  • My Defender
  • My Everything

When I remind myself of this, I can’t help but have a good day. When I neglect to, I struggle.  I’m a work in progress. I mess up daily, and I get some things wrong. But this…praising and thanking my God…this is something I’m doing right. If you’re facing giants today (and I know you are), remind your problems how BIG our God is. 

As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

Enjoy INSTAGRAM? Me too! @julielclarke

Love PINTEREST? Who doesn’t? Find me! @jlbclarke

Use Facebook? Check out my page.

GOOD Morning! 

Like most of you, I’m running on empty right now. I don’t mean to.  I have plans to change. Really! I’m going to get more sleep, stop stressing about work, and cut out sugar. Tomorrow

Today, however, I’m latching on to something that’s more powerful than 8 hours of sleep and the biggest cup of coffee-praise.

 Not too long ago, I felt the Lord nudge me as I was getting ready for work. I had started praying (by rote-not awesome, Julie!) and He whispered, “Stop.  Just stop. I want you to praise me today.” This began a new morning ritual. For the last month or two I’ve offered up a shorter prayer, thanking Him for meeting the needs of my family, friends, and me. Then the good stuff starts. I start thanking Him for all that He is, all that He has done (and will do). My faith is stirred up. This is potent stuff, y’all. The more I thank and praise Him, the more I have to thank Him for. Bonus: I feel better. Energy comes. Ideas and solutions come. Healing and favor come. He is my source for everything-every thing. 

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.”  

Psalm  103:1-6

I know this is a big DUH for some of you, but it was revelation to me. I’d gotten into a rut. I’m so thankful He brought me out of it. He’s good! If praise isn’t a part of your morning routine, I encourage you to try it today. A GOOD morning is guaranteed.  As always, I wish  MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

Enjoy INSTAGRAM? Me too! @julielclarke

Love PINTEREST? Who doesn’t? Find me! @jlbclarke

Use Facebook? Check out my page.

Live for TODAY

“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” 

― Bill Watterson


Y’all, it’s taken me four decades to learn this lesson. And when I say learn I mean I’m better than I was, I’m working on it, and some days I actually do this.  I wrote this post after a time in my life when I was making progress. Two steps forward, one step back….

I am the girl who plans lessons weeks ahead, cannot sit down and enjoy the movie with her husband because she’s doing x, y, or z in order to make tomorrow easier. I’m the one who has missed the moment, and tried to enjoy it afterwards. And I am wrong. I’m all kinds of wrong. 

I remember a few years ago when my mom had a heart attack. It was the end of the school year. I was spending long days at the hospital, calling and texting family with updates, running up to school to clean up, leave  more substitute plans, and pack up my room for summer break. Three great things came out of that season.  (1) Praise the Lord, my mom is fine. (2) I learned to accept genuine offers of help. (3) And I had to start taking one day at a time. For the first time in my life, I looked at the day’s events and not into the next day, next week, or next month. This wasn’t because I finally understood the wisdom of living in the moment. Rather, it was the only way I could survive the avalanche of emotions and things screaming to be done at home and at work. I vividly recall walking down the hall of the hospital’s third floor with my head down.  I’d left my mom in CCU in order to grab a sandwich. As I walked, I stared at the tiles on the floor, forcing myself to look at the next hour only and what needed to be done. It was a battle! 

As the years have passed, I’ve lost that lesson. I want it back! 

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  Matthew 6:31-34 ESV (emphasis mine) 

It’s always wise to turn to The Word,  isn’t it? 

My October to-do list is ridiculous. . Feeling overwhelmed, I’m turning to God and He is graciously reminding me to look at today and what needs to be accomplished today. Tomorrow I will worry about tomorrow. My mind rebels, but I know this is the way to live. Deep breath. Okay, Lord, here we go. 

How do you deal with your busy life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

Enjoy INSTAGRAM? Me too! @julielclarke

Love PINTEREST? Who doesn’t? Find me! @jlbclarke

Use Facebook? Check out my page

Rules for Life

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. ~Unknown 




It’s no secret I adore lists. I try, y’all.  I do.  I can’t seem to help myself, though, so here is one more. As I share my rules for life, I would truly love to hear yours. 

  1. Forgive. People are going to hurt you, lie about you, cheat you. Forgive quickly and move on. YOU will be happier. 
  2. Celebrate the success of others. If you’re spending your time being envious or comparing your life to someone else’s you’re wasting your time and losing your joy. 
  3. Do things you fear, but don’t allow anyone push you into something. 
  4. Love.  Love matters most. Love God. Love yourself. Love your people. Look for things to love in your routines, job, daily commute. 
  5. God. Spouse. Children. Family. Work. Keep your priorities in line. 
  6. You really do have time for what matters. 
  7. Find a hobby you can lose yourself in. It’s great therapy and better for you than numbing out with food, drugs, or alcohol. 
  8. Practice gratitude. 
  9. Being kind, treating others with kindness and dignity…well, that may matter more than anything else. 
  10. Build routines to make life flow smoothly (regular bedtime, exercise schedule, lay your clothes out the night before), but don’t be afraid to deviate. 
  11. Understand that you are responsible for your happiness. Everyone has bad stuff. Choose how you deal with the bad stuff. 
  12. Your words have tremendous power. Grasp this and you’ve latched on to an eternal truth. 
  13. When you find people who comfort and encourage you in tough times, spur you on in times of growth, and truly, joyfully celebrate your triumphs…hold on to these friends forever. They’re rare. They’re precious. They’re worth more than gold. And, y’all…these are your people. 
  14. Express your appreciation. You have people in your life that you love, count on, appreciate. Make sure they know if. Hubby and I make it a point to thank each other multiple times daily for “silly” things like taking out the trash, folding the laundry, or making the coffee. 
  15. Fight to keep your peace and joy. Don’t let others rob you of them. 
  16. Write thank you notes. 
  17. Sit in silence for a few minutes at least once a day. 
  18. Laugh. Be silly. Have fun!
  19. Spend time in The Word. 
  20. Reply. If someone texts, calls, writes, or emails they deserve a reply. 
  21. Less is more. This seems to be true for words, jewelry, makeup, and sharing opinions. 
  22. Simplifying is hard, but worth it. 
  23. Seek understanding. 
  24. Try to bless someone at least once a day. 
  25. Observe the Sabbath. 

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please  comment. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

Enjoy INSTAGRAM? Me too! @julielclarke

Love PINTEREST? Who doesn’t? Find me! @jlbclarke

Use Facebook? Check out my page.

40 Things 40 Taught Me

“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.” -Frank Lloyd Wright 




Our society glorifies youth. Our society is youth obsessed, actually.  Although I truly do miss a few things about my twenties and thirties,  let me tell you…I LOVE so many of the benefits of my forties. 

Every journey is a little different, but my twenties were about beginning and becoming. I graduated from college, started teaching, made new friends, had new experiences. My thirties were even better. I began understanding myself (& others). I wasn’t at all excited about the fourth decade and for the first year or two I pretty much hated the decade. But then. . . I never thought I’d say I love my forties, but I do!! You see, it was in this decade that I started accepting myself –and others.  I’m ridiculously flawed and I’m finally (!!!) okay with it. Even better, I am able to extend that same grace to others. I’m weird. You’re weird. And it’s all good. 

Here is a collection of 40 things I love about 40+. 

  1. No one cares as much about your health as you do. You must do your research, be your own advocate. The same goes for pretty much every area of your life. 
  2. You are responsible for your own happiness. 
  3. A true friend will be happy for you when you succeed and cry with you when you grieve. Watch for those people and then hold on to them. These are your people! 
  4. Start and end your day talking to God. Read His Word. Sit in His presence. 
  5. No one cares. I don’t mean that in a negative way…. People don’t notice or care if you need to dust, have a pimple,  or if your house isn’t immaculate.  Most people just don’t notice. 
  6. Say “I love you” a lot. Show “I love you” even more frequently. 
  7. Use the good china. My husband and I use this as code for “What are you waiting for?!” Don’t save the expensive perfume or pretty dress or whatever…use it, wear it, enjoy it! 
  8. Just do it. Dreading a chore? Afraid to apologize? Procrastinating?  Just do it. 
  9. Stop being afraid. We are told to “fear not” 365 times in The Bible!!! 
  10. Watch how people treat others and speak about others. It’s true that people reveal who they really are if you’re watching. 
  11. Forgive. You know this, but unforgiveness hurts YOU, not them. 
  12. Sssshhh. Just be quiet sometimes. You don’t have to add to every conversation. 
  13. Pray for those who hurt you. Pray BIG blessings for them. 
  14. Avoid negative people. 
  15. No is a complete sentence. 
  16. Use cash as much as possible. Avoid debt. 
  17. Thank you and please are magic words. Truly. 
  18. A written thank you is classy and it takes all of five minutes.
  19. Grace. Extend it, accept it, embrace it. 
  20. Get your priorities straight. Make a list of your true (not the ones you think you should have) priorities. Now, make a list of where your time, money, attention, and energy go. If they don’t match, make changes. 
  21. Focus on being kind rather than being right or first or best….
  22. Extend mercy. Forgive. Show grace. Give people the benefit of the doubt …Yes, you will be taken advantage of occasionally, but wouldn’t you rather be that guy-the good guy?
  23. Some people don’t like you. They will never like you. You cannot win them over. Shake it off and move on. 
  24. Don’t get into a battle of wills with a toddler. Or a teenager.  Or your spouse. 
  25. Tip well. 
  26. Gravity kinda’ stinks for women our age. 
  27. Find something that soothes you that isn’t food or drink…I am waaay too quick to want to go to food to numb out or “medicate” after a hard day. I’m trying to retrain myself to pray, write,  talk to a great friend, take a walk, hop in the rocking chair on our patio, or take a long bath instead. It’s not going well, but I’m trying. 
  28. There are friends for a reason, friends for a season, and lifelong friends. Don’t be afraid to say a fond farewell to friends. True friendships take time and energy (precious commodities). Choose wisely. 
  29. Read the reviews, but make up your own mind. 
  30. Give. 
  31. We lose nothing by praising others, complimenting others, applauding others. 
  32. Call your parents frequently. 
  33. Make sure you’re pleasant to be around. Yes, you’re human. Yes, you get to vent. But…make sure 90% of the time you’re adding to a situation with your positive attitude and sweet spirit. 
  34. Stop whining and complaining. See #33. Oh y’all…I know. But think back to that person who always complains. I’ve literally hidden in grocery stores and turned around to retrace my steps at work to avoid that guy. Please. Let’s all agree to not be that guy. 
  35. Find the thing that makes your heart soar. My hubby loves flying. I love creating. It soothes my soul like nothing else. Some of my precious friends enjoy gardening, scrapbooking, and cooking. Take a few moments today to think of what makes you feel alive. Now find time to enjoy it. 
  36. Don’t let anyone dictate your likes, dislikes, passions, or hobbies. Undoubtedly, you have things you think you should like or do.  I should like cooking, but I don’t. My hubby accepted this about me long before I did. So, we do takeout and easy things most evenings. What a relief to acknowledge and finally accept this truth. I loved creating jewelry for years. I spent a ridiculous amount of money on this hobby. It was pure joy. And then it wasn’t. You have no idea how freeing it was to sell and give away the beads and supplies. I’m sure you have a few things that you don’t enjoy, but think you should. I give you permission to no longer pursue them. 
  37. No name is above the name of Jesus. 
  38. Don’t worry about what people say, think, or do if you can stand before God knowing you did the right thing. 
  39. Let. It. Go. If you can’t change it, pray and leave it with God. This will change your life. 
  40. Your thoughts and words will determine your quality of life. 

I could do without age spots, wrinkles, and gravity taking its toll, but I rather love feeling happier and more content than ever before. What do you like (or hate) about aging? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

Enjoy INSTAGRAM? Me too! @julielclarke

Love PINTEREST? Who doesn’t? Find me! @jlbclarke

Use Facebook? Check out my page.

Editing Your Life


“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” – Nathan W. Morris




I’m thinking a lot about editing and revising lately. I’ve always thought of these in terms of the writing process, but now…. What is editing? Well, it involves looking at something closely, making changes, deleting, revising, modifying… Editing is painful at times, but the end result is generally well worth it. 

Maybe it’s time to start hitting the delete button! 

  • Attitudes and Behaviors. The truth is, stuff happens. Bad hair days, difficult people, disagreements with loved ones, car problems, empty bank accounts…”stuff” is part of life. We can’t control some of it. However, we can-and must-learn to control our reactions and our attitudes. Let’s delete negativity, unforgiveness, complaining, and self pity.  
  • Clothing. If an item doesn’t fit, delete. If it makes you feel too fat, too thin, ugly, or less than in any way, delete! 
  • Fears. We are told to “fear not” repeatedly in the Word of God. Maybe it’s time we start to heed that command. Hit delete on fear today, and choose to believe God’s Word. He’s a good Father.  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
  • Wrong words. Note to self:  Stop. Just stop. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14
  • Wrong thinking. Note to self: see aboveThis goes along with attitudes. I have to be very deliberate about not dwelling on negatives.  We really can choose our thoughts, but it takes effort and practice. “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8. 
  • Clutter. Clutter makes me tired and less effective. Check out this post for tips on reducing clutter easily. 
  • Décor. I’ve become a big believer in surrounding yourself with only things that serve a purpose or make you happy.  My great grandmother, a precious woman, consistently gave me gifts I didn’t need, want, or like. I love her and I just learned to put her gifts in my classroom treasure chest or charity bag. Mama was not the dollar store figurines she gave me. Mama was a prayer warrior and servant hearted soul. Mama, I love and hold in my heart. Her gifts are long gone and I learned to separate the giver from the gift and ditch the guilt (along with the gift)!
  • People. Yikes, yes…people. I know that sounds harsh, but please hear me out. Take a peek at this post to see what I mean. 
  • Time sucks. Big sigh. I struggle with this, but I’m not giving up! I’m typing on one of my pet time sucks right now. Oh, iPad, how I enjoy you! 
  • Memories. This one has been such a process, but I’m choosing to focus on remembering the good with people and situations. Y’all, I’ve had people cheat on me, steal from me, lie to me, lie about me, and treat me unfairly. We all have our list of grievances, don’t we?  Dwelling on the negative serves no purpose and I am done with it. I’ve heard pastors call that unhealthy habit rehearsing the hurt. (Isn’t that good?!?) I don’t want to give mental real estate to unhappy, unproductive things any longer. So, I’m hitting the delete button once again. 

So, what do you think? How are you editing today? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Got TWITTER? Tweet with me! @julielclarke

Enjoy INSTAGRAM? Me too! @julielclarke

Love PINTEREST? Who doesn’t? Find me! @jlbclarke

Use Facebook? Check out my page.