After thoroughly enjoying many months of “Share Four Somethings” posts by blogging friends, join me as I jump in this month with July Jewels: Share Four Somethings. Heather Gerwing hosts a monthly feature called, Share Four Somethings, where writers share the fourth Saturday of each month something in each of four categories from the previous month.
The four categories remain the same, something loved, something read or heard, something treasured, and something ahead. The premise delights me, falling right in line with my one word 2021 journey with joy; especially my recent joy lesson learned. Looking back over the previous month through these four categories helps me linger with joy, and ignites my gratitude.
Starting off July Jewels: Share Four Somethings, I have my something loved:Paws for Purple Hearts. This non-profit organization was founded in 2006 by Dr. Bonnie Bergin, who invented the concept of service dogs assisting people in 1975. Dr. Bergin also founded the Bergin College of Canine Studies; the only college dedicated to training service dog trainers in the world.
Paws for Purple Hearts is the first organization of its kind to offer Canine Assisted Warrior Therapy® and the world’s only organization offering service dogs for wounded service members and veterans. Additionally, all trainers are war veterans: warriors helping warriors is their tagline for good reason. Not only do disabled warriors receive help, but the warrior trainers work out their own inner wounds while working with the dogs.
Needless to say I am smitten with this organization and advocate for support, as training a dog from puppy to placement is very costly! The training the dogs receive is nothing less than impeccable. I love what they do, I love being a part of their mission and the dogs…labs and golden retrievers, what’s not to love?
Ah, something read. For the girl who devours books like her favorite affogato, such a difficult choice of what I might share, given I read no less than twelve books this month. Two favorites bubble to the top: “The Last Arrow: Save Nothing For the Next Life” by Erwin McManus and “Prepared For a Purpose” by Antoinette Tuff, with Alex Tresnjowski.
In the “The Last Arrow: Save Nothing For the Next Life”, McManus incites you from the beginning with the exhortation: “Before you die, live the life you were born to live”. The book’s premise reminds you, at the end of your days, your life is not measured by successes or failures; all of those blend into one blur called “life”. What brings solace in McManus’ words, is a life with nothing left undone. One that’s been lived with relentless ambition, a heart on fire, and with no regrets. While on the other hand, what will haunt you until your final breath is who you could have been but never became and what you could have done but never did.
My biggest takeaway? Dare to live a life beyond mediocrity for Christ, avoid settling for status quo Christianity and don’t limit God by weak faith.
“Prepared For a Purpose” is an older release and one I read previously, but couldn’t resist a second read. The story of Antoinette Tuff, an elementary school bookkeeper who talked down the AK-47 toting gunman with over 500 rounds of ammunition who walked into the Ronald McNair Learning Center in Decatur, Georgia on August 20, 2013.
The story weaves Antoinette’s personal life story together with the tense hostage situation in the elementary school. No stranger to heartache, grief and suffering, this brave woman held onto her faith and God’s grace through a tragic upbringing, failed marriage, financial difficulties and raising a son with multiple disabilities.
Yet it was those very hardships that prepared her for that day in August 2013. Having walked with God through pain and suffering, she shared her journey with the gunman, listened with empathy and compassion, told him he was loved, and brought about his surrender, saving the lives of everyone in that school building.
An unforgettable reminder of God’s redemptive power in our lives; He wastes nothing. Everything we journey through prepares us for His purpose. And I never grow weary watching the power of His great love in the lives of the broken.
My July Jewels: Share Four Somethings brings us to something treasured; something I hold close to my heart is my Thursdays with my two-year old granddaughter Grace Gabriella. My daughter is a single parent working from home, and the highlight of my week comes on Thursday afternoon when I visit to play with Grace.
Grace struggles with a form of separation anxiety, and cannot be separated from my daughter, even with her Gigi, even in her own house. Part of my play involves helping her feel safe with others in Mom’s presence and helping her know when her people “disappear” they come back soon.
Our new favorite game to help with this is “hide and seek”. I hide, and Grace counts and sets a timer, then comes searching; “Where’s Gigi?” tickles my ears in my hiding places and her delight upon finding me, is truly heart-warming. My Thursdays truly fill my heart with the joy treasure of a child’s laughter and hugs!
Awaiting me in August is a gathering of a quirky little group of misfits with whom I work! A diverse group of NPs, physicians, RNs, support personnel and a pharmacist, several years ago, we formed an eclectic book club of sorts. Problem being most of us prefer non-fiction reads, while the rest exclusively read fiction. Never able to agree on one title, we agreed to disagree, and instead met quarterly for a drink or at a friend’s house to discuss whatever we read.
The “Happy Enders” book club enjoyed robust conversation, but mostly laughter, which we all agreed upon. However COVID sidelined the Happy Enders for the past twenty months. Down but not out, we arranged an outside gathering at a local park later in August. I look forward to reconnecting as some of our fellow club members retired, and with restrictions in place, our face to face contact is limited even in the workplace.
july jewels: Share four somethings
Thank you for taking a walk back through my July jewels with me! I am grateful to Heather for creating such a creative way to review the moments of our days which often slip by so quickly. Sharing Four Somethings is a way to savor one more time those things we love, read, treasure and anticipate!
But you don’t have to be a writer or blogger to enjoy this practice. Why not take a few moments and think back over YOUR July Jewels and share four somethings with me in the comments! Meet me back here at the end of August for more joyful somethings!