Joni B

The very idea.

Finding Christmas


It’s Monday, December 23.  The boys are out of school and Ron is off for Christmas vacation.  Two days before Christmas and I have a to-do list a mile long.  I wake early because I get to go to work.  I don’t say that sarcastically.  I love my job and the people I work with.  So many people are without jobs.  I am truly blessed to be able to work with people I love.  But… I am overwhelmed.  We’ve been so busy and frankly I miss my family.  I carefully get out of bed so I won’t disturb Ron, go to the kitchen and make my coffee.  The house is still even quiet.  There is something about the Christmas lights being the only lights on in the house that brings some sort of peace to my soul.  I tiptoe into the den to watch the news.  I find my youngest son curled up beneath the lighted Christmas tree with his dog curled up at his feet.  The only sound is the deep breathing of a sleeping child.  And there it is — Christmas.  The magic of twinkling lights, the anticipation of gifts, the excitement of knowing ole St. Nick is double checking his list, Most of all, it’s the peace of knowing a Savior is coming. No matter the tragedies, political arguments, hurts, fears, financial difficulties– All Is Well. All is well because unto us a Child is born. The King is coming. May you find all the hope, peace & joy in Christmas. May you find the love of Jesus to be all you need.

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I ate too much at supper tonight.  I know why I do and as I ponder just how transparent I want to be I think I need to explain some things.  I don’t at any point want this to sound as if I’m blaming people or putting them down.  There are some family aspects that come up, but let me make it very clear that I had a wonderful Godly family.  I think in some ways most of us are victims of addictions.  It happens and we need God’s grace to get through it.

My dad’s father was an alcoholic when my dad was young.  Dad only told me a couple of his childhood stories and they were all very sad.  Now by the time I came along, I never saw my Papa Tom take a drink.  He was a good grandfather.  A quiet man, but good to me.  I don’t know what he went through to make him turn to alcohol.  I’m sure in some regard he was a victim of some abuse/addiction.  Nevertheless, there are books after books written about the effects of a child of the addict.  One “symptom” is that we paint the perfect picture of our home life on the outside.  Things may be crumbling on the inside, but outside we are beautiful.  In some twisted way, there are things said that are said out of love, but come across horrific.

All that back ground is to say that anything I say that may sound disparaging against my family, I don’t mean it that way. Most of them are good people who love(d) God, are generous, loving, kind people.  Sometimes we just have to do the best we can with what we’ve been given.   I hope  you are as thankful for forgiveness, mercy and grace as I am.  I’m in desperate need of them.  I will publish my thoughts tomorrow.

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This morning on AFR, JJ said “Never let the size of your giants determine the size of your God.”  That brings up several verses of Scripture for me one of which is “the battle is the Lord’s”.  I have several things working against me.  Heredity.  Learned behaviors.  Emotional scars.  “When I am weak, He is strong.”  I know that maybe for those of you who have 100 lbs to lose, my 20 lbs may be easy to blow off for you.  Let me assure you this has been a life long battle.  I could easily be 200 lbs overweight.  My giants are huge and I’m so tired of fighting.  I really just would like to throw in the towel because this never ends.  But I don’t want to be like David’s brothers hiding in the tents who had defeated themselves without even stepping onto the battlefield.  I want to sing Mandisa’s “My Deliver has set me free.”  Today, I’m going to strip myself of man made armor, lay before the Lord and say, “I can’t do this, but You can.”  My giant seems to be made of many mini-giants, but God can defeat them all.  So if you will excuse me, I’m going to go fall on my face and gather my stones.  My giant it huge, but my God is greater still!

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The Battle


My entire family is morbidly obese.  Heart disease and diabetes run rampant.  I have to constantly fight to stay out of plus sized clothes.  If I drink 8 oz of water, I’m going to gain a pound.  There are many factors that have led to all this.  Perhaps I’ll touch on those as I journey through, but I don’t want this to turn into a blaming game.  I’m a big girl and need to take responsibility for my own actions.  I have gained 10 pounds since November.  Frankly, I just got tired of fighting it.  I got tired of staying on the treadmill.  The TV or a book was much more enticing.  I got tired of saying no to bread and cream filled desserts.  I got tired of eating only half of what was on my plate.  The truth of the matter is I’m undisciplined and spoiled.  I want what I want when I want it.

Today, my sister lays in a hospital bed with a heart attack.  Less than a year ago she had quadruple bypass surgery.  Today, my father’s body is in a grave and my boys don’t have their grandfather.  I won’t be like this.  I must fight it.  Many more that I’ve known and loved now have wasted gifts because they can’t function as God intended.  I include myself in that.  I’m tired.  I’m not the mother, wife or servant that God has called me to be.  I think maybe I’m burying my gifts in food.

I’m going to blog about my journey to weight loss mainly because I need the accountability.  As you read my raw, honest, unmasked journal, please pray for me.  It is my deepest desire to worship God and not food.  I do have an addiction.  I also hope that if you are in this battle with me, you will find some encouragement or something to help spur you on to be the person God created you to be.

Day 1

I finally forced myself on the scale today.  I weigh 139 pounds.  You may not think that’s much.  Keep in mind I’m 5’0 tall and well on my way to being 5’0 wide.  Mainly, I feel anxious, tired, and am disgusted with how I look.  Worthless falls in there somewhere.  I downloaded a new app on my phone.  It’s called C25K.  It’s free.  It says it will train me run a 5k in 8 weeks.  I completed Day 1 today.  I walk for 1 1/2 minutes and run for a minute alternately for 30 minutes.  I DID IT!  I’m a walker not a runner.  I feel good.  My attitude is better, my anxiousness of the day has ceased, and I just feel so much better simply by exercising.

Please pray that I will turn to God to fill the holes in my heart not food and not exercise.  Please pray for my health that I can serve Him and minister to others for all the days He has given me.

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Live Like That


One of my favorite Christian bands of all time is a fairly new band called Sidewalk Prophets.  I do like their music, but more importantly I find them to be real.  It’s easy to get caught up in the fame of it all, but so far I’ve only seen them love Jesus and truly minister to their fans – putting others above themselves.  I have not seen the slightest hint of arrogance, but them living Psalm 115:1.  “Not to us, Oh Lord, not to us.  But to You be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.”  They have a new single out (album is released March 27) called “Live Like That”.  It essentially prompts us to think of the saints in our lives who have made a difference for Jesus — who have shown His love with their life and for us to live like that.  I have been surrounded by those people my entire life.  This all leads up to my blog for today.

Before I say any of this, I want you to know this is only God through me.  This is only Jesus loving others through me and I only blog about it in hopes that you too will get ideas from this and realize the need that is out there.  I’ve prayed, as a result, of  “Live Like That”, for God to show me how to love like He does.  He did give me an idea that was so incredible it could have only come from the Throne Room of Heaven.  Instead of Ron and I going on a date for Valentine’s Day, we invited several widows to dinner with us.  I thought it was a good idea, but I really had no idea what lay ahead.  We made a list and started to call them.  Ron made a big deal about wanting to spend Valentine’s Day with the finest women in Savannah.  The delight in their voices was so fun to hear.  One woman was very composed as she accepted his offer, but started talking to her daughter before she hung up the phone and with great joy said, “Well!  You are never going to believe this!”  Another said, “What are we going to do?”  Ron teasingly said, “I’m going to grill for you all and Joni said something about me jumping out of a cake, but I’m not going to do that.”  Very dryly she replied, “Well, Ron, I hope you’ll reconsider.”  It’s not often someone can get Ron’s goat, but she accomplished it!  We also heard comments like this “Just that you called means everything.  My phone doesn’t ring very often anymore.  Sometimes I call myself just to see if it still works.”  “It’s been a long time since a man has asked me to dinner.”  I had the pleasure of seeing one woman face to face when we asked her.  She lit up like a light bulb!  There was almost a look of relief on her face.

They all came to dinner.  I stayed in the kitchen and cooked.  Ron and his friend Shawn entertained and waited on them.  My boys opened doors, escorted them to and from their cars, brought them coffee, drinks, etc.  We gave them small boxes of Valentine candy, chocolate covered strawberries, a Valentine card, and small bouquets of flowers.  A new widow cried and said, “This is the only card I got this year.”  Another thanked us and told us that Valentine’s Day was the hardest on her.  I never thought about that.  The other holidays you are usually surrounded by family.  Valentine’s Day you are left alone with only your memories.  The flowers were originally part of the centerpiece on the table.  God again inspired an idea as I took my holder into the florist.  I asked them to make  it using small bouquets.  At the end of the night, when Ron begin pulling the arrangement apart and giving them their own sets of flowers, we got to see the blessing on their faces.  God is so good!  He loves us so much and I am so thankful that He allowed me to be a part of making sure these wonderful ladies were not alone on this night.

I didn’t get flowers or a card or a romantic meal with my sweetie, but make no mistake – this was absolutely the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had!  I’ve read a lot of tweets over the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.  So many hurting single people who desire to find their soul mate.  Let me encourage you to not spend another Valentine’s Day feeling sorry for yourself.  Find a widow(er) and don’t let them spend it alone.  Let God love through you.  Choose to “Live Like That.”

One last thing – Dave, Ben, Justin, Cal and Shawn – should you ever read this – THANK YOU.  Thank you for letting God minister through you.  Thank you for leaving your families and hitting the road to spread God’s Word and His love.  Because of your willingness to be in ministry, there were 6 ladies who didn’t have to spend Valentine’s night alone in sorrow.  I only wish you could have seen their faces or heard their voices.  May God richly bless your ministry!


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