Lost My Bloom? Jane Austin has at times described a character who is no longer in the prime of her youth as having “lost her bloom.”  I look in the mirror, and I know that in many ways, I have lost my bloom! But you know what? Because of the God inside of me, I never have to lose my sparkle! Inner sparkle comes from within and affects the outer sparkle as well; there’s no beauty like a smile, even if the smile breaks out with some wrinkles! My blogs will share thoughts on keeping that sparkle going, no matter how old, no matter what the circumstance in life.

“No Matter What” In case you are reading this, and don’t know me personally, my husband and I, and in fact, our entire family, have had our share of “no matter what” types of circumstances. I chose the photo above because it is our only family photo. The reason for that is that Kristie, our daughter, and Bradley, our younger son, never met each other. They both were born with a severe muscle disorder, undiagnosed, but could broadly be labeled “muscular dystrophy.” Kristie went to heaven at age three, Bradley, at age eighteen.

The years of raising our three children (Ricky was born healthy and strong, and we are blessed to have him and his wife Emily close to us). But those years, although filled with many joys and blessings, were also filled with hardship, heartache, and exhaustion from seeking to make our children’s lives as full as possible, in spite of the disabilities; and we were painfully aware that their young lives were fragile, and they could easily leave us at any time.

Surprised By Joy…And yet, through those 20+ years and even when we lost our beloved kids, to borrow the title of a CS Lewis book, I found that I was overall “surprised by joy.” I guess you could say, surprised that God still was able to put sparkle in my heart no matter what the circumstances.

Inner and Outer Sparkle. People have an inside and an outside, our soul and our heart are the inside, our bodies are the outside. Since we are “all connected,” and our inside is definitely affected by the health of our bodies, some of the blogs will offer suggestions for healthy physical living and tips for chemical-free cosmetics and household items.

I love what Josh McDowell used to tell his kids about all areas of life, “You don’t have to be the best, but I expect you do always do and be your best.”   And so we never have to concern ourselves with out-sparkling anyone else. But when it comes to both inner and outer health, we should seek to be the very best we can be, that is, to be the person that God created us to be.

I Sometimes Find Myself  In a “Funk.”   My very first blog is entitled “The Depths of Despair,” a strange choice for a “sparkle” blog!  But I wanted to emphasize that “sparkle, no matter what,” is not a simple matter. I personally find myself in a “funk” at times, and when I say earlier that I have been surprised by joy, I need to let you know that it is more often than not, a process to get to that place, and a process that, for me, involves tears, doubts, and even, a feeling of despair at times. I fail, I struggle, I feel completely inadequate to share about “sparkle”!  But I know I am sharing with fellow-strugglers who understand that life, and that finding joy, is a journey, and although joy is a decision, it is not always an instant “poof” type of decision!  And so I invite you to come with me on this up-and-down journey, and to seek, by way of “three-steps-forward-one-step-back” to get to that place of sparkle…no matter what!

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This is kind of a “selfie” of my feet, relaxing in my favorite place to think…the mountains of Colorado!  Please join me in my “think time” via my blogs. I will try to make them short and sweet, and worth your time to read!  Bev