And Find Rest

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” Ps 55:6

Somehow this verse keeps running through my head today. All the Christmas splendor in the Valley has had me rushing to and fro, and admittedly I love it. But there are disadvantages to this ultra busy season.

And suddenly I came screeching into a deadline and was carried away on great steel wings to a land far from the beautiful Valley. Nicaragua.

Am I finding Rest? Maybe… or at least lots of potential for it. We went hammock shopping and went from house to house where the weavers took us into their living quarters and showed us their wares.

This little gal and her tv watching parrot amused me 😉

We also found the opposite of rest-a marvel of creation.  We drove up onto the Volcano Masaya and gazed down into the fiery throat of the crater and watched the lava churn red hot below… all the warning signs that told of the danger of a possible eruption didn’t really bother me, and I was ok with signing a paper that said I would not sue if I got killed up there. I didn’t even mind the fact that the gas was bad enough that we were only allowed a 5-10 min visit. But I’ll admit to feeling a little uneasy when we got to the parking lot and Deb backed into the parking spot ” you have to back in, that way you can take off real fast if it erupts.” What?! Regardless what an experience! and even better news-we all survived. ☺️

We also visited a really neat market inside an old Fort. Depending on who you ask shopping is relaxing/restful. Others would vote with the opposite of restful. No matter where it classes-I found some really exciting things 😉

Today was truly a restful day here in Deborah’s home. I enjoyed the hammock and the balmy 90 degrees. I finally met her cat obsession named Moroncito. Silly fellow.

And we all watched in amazement today- as God answered a prayer from exactly a year ago…

A year ago when we were here-the girls were not feeling comfortable with the guys and the bike shop that was in the middle of the street in front of their house. (following pic is from Dec ’15)

The men watched the girls like a hawk, leered and whistled way to often, plus knew way to much about the robbery of Deb’s red bike. We prayed fervently that God would continue to place a hedge about them.

And while I still pray daily for protection about my little sis, I forgot about the stalker bike shop guys. This morning, I noticed they weren’t out front “for maybe a month” the girls said.

Then, as we sat down for lunch, we heard a disturbance in the street below. We stood there aghast as Edwin and his gang tore down the bike shop before our eyes. One year later-right on time


And this truly does bring me rest. God- who listens to our petitions, remembers, and answers, even when we’ve forgotten that we’ve asked.


Praise Him!



#18for30: Come on and ring those bells, everybody say, “Jesus, we remember it’s Your birthday!”

This week found me scratching not one but two off of the #30for30. I took the reigns bell from a sweet lady at the Dayton Farmers Market at approx 3:58 and proceeded to valiantly defend my post until 6 pm.

I learned several things:

  • My sisters are petrified of my ideas. I don’t know why (conversation between Em and I- her texts are blue)


  • It is impossible to keep perfect time with one of those el cheapo Salvation Army Bells but I tried. Em did a better job than I did
  • Time goes rapidly when friends come and hang out- bless y’all who stopped by and Rachel especially for being the inspiration behind this project!


  • It is more blessed to give than to receive. But the receiving part is fun 🙂 Another part of my project ( #19for30) was a random “Pay it Forward” So we gave out gift certificates to the soft pretzel shop inside the front door to random donors (seriously, you haven’t really lived until you’ve tried a pretzel from the Kaffee Klatsch)  30 pretzels because 30 is the perfect number right now.img_8668

and like Scripture tells us, if you “cast your bread upon the waters, it will return”. I had 3 offers for a free hot drink. Lucky me 🙂


and a free pair of antlers. Thanks. I guess. lol. Emily was so excited at the compliments I got from her gift- until I called to her attention that it was all ladies who I’m confident are part of the Red Hat Society… Next time Em, lets just stick with a gift of a coffee. That’s a little bit more down my aisle 🙂


Regardless- I had a blast.

I am so challenged to give this year. Give time. Give encouragement. Give a smile. Give charity. Give understanding. Give. Give. Give.

Give-because we are called to be the Hands and Feet of the Greatest Gift.

“Come on and ring those bells, Everybody say- ‘Jesus, we remember it’s your birthday’!”

And through giving may we indeed find a blessing.

Merry Christmas,


P.S come see me next year, same season, same place and MAYBE you’ll be a lucky donor 😉




Fleeting Moments of Fame

Do you believe in luck?  I don’t until I observe two of my sisters. Then I do.

You see, Ms Julia Margaret is the luckiest person around. She has been for years. We joke that if we want to win a doorprize, write her name on it. Invariably- Dairyman Specialty, James River, and Farm Credit have her number on speed dial after customer appreciation day.  This fall, Julia and her husband traveled to WI to the World Dairy Expo… and out of 70,000 people- guess who’s having UPS back up to the door and unload doorprizes. You guessed it- Mrs Showalter cleaned house. Again.

Now- my dear sweet darling talented sister Emily… Not so much. Poor kid. She has the most popular girls name in the US for over 20 years, and yet she doesn’t manage to really ever get it selected for the big win. or the small win. or any win. It’s depressing, I think.

Enter the Valley Living Magazine, a quarterly magazine that comes out in all our local stores and is celebrating 25 years. This summer, they hosted a photo contest. We take a lot of pics around here. We aren’t anything professional- we just enjoy being click happy. So Mother discovered the contest and suggested that I enter it. “Favorite summertime activity” or something.  Hershey’s family was here and since their children are cuter than most of my photo shoot options (with respect to my family) We had fun taking a few pics. Emily was here too, and we had a brief, mildly heated, sisterly discussion when we discovered we were submitting the same picture. Oooops I thought we were supposed to be more adult than that.


Emily meekly entered a different picture, and guess what?  My adorable watermelon/German Shepherd pic lost to a pair of sneakered feet dangling over a river somewhere… AND Emily’s sparkler girls brought home a grand prize of a wedding photography book. (If you are planning a wedding- Emily is one step closer to being able to perfectly capture the event.)  In the end, Emily and I were not in the same age group of photographers, so I’m not sure what would’ve happened if we’d sent in almost identical entries. But we won’t know. She won. I did not.


The final contest for Valley Living was to send in your life motto. I looked at this, but decided to pass- they didn’t like my entries anyway.

Meanwhile, our local feed company- Rockingham Coop sent out a flyer about a photo contest they were hosting. Julia alerted us to this one. I waited until the 11th hour and sent in a few pics. Julia and I received a confirmation email right away. Emily did not, which I thought was a little strange. But what do you know? Two weeks later, Emily received a phone call that she’d taken second place and there was a $150 gift card waiting on her. Emily sailed to town and without a backwards glance put the prize towards a .308 Ruger All American . She didn’t even care that they gave photo credit to “Melissa Weaver”. “I got the money and that’s all I care about” she said.  Julia lamented telling us about the contest, and I tried to console us that it’s wonderful that since Em has no luck at all, that she can win things based on skill.


It was fun to see the entries that placed. I was shocked to see that two of mine made honorable mention. But there’s no money in placing that way. But what is money? I really don’t need a new gun.


Like Mary of old, I was pondering all these things in my heart, when I received a mysterious email from the editor of Valley Living:

“Dear Joyce, Thank you for your submission to our Life motto contest. Congratulations on being our grandprize winner!”

What?! A quick phone call confirmed that the editor did indeed have the right Joyce in mind. (my parents find it easier to give out my email address, than to check their own account ) and my mom had submitted a quote from Martin Luther King Jr on the sly.

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.

She was ecstatic with her big win and we all cheered for her.  I told my family that I’m pretty sure I’m a loser in a family of winners. Em wins. Jul wins and wins. My mom wins…

Friday, Emily and Mother were in town and they stopped in to pick up their prizes at the Valley Living office. Emily received her book, and Mother received a painting.


The lady picked it up, dusted it off and handed it to my wonderful Mother “here this is, we had it on our wall until we got tired of it. Oh, and let’s see, this second place devotional book goes with the first prize…” (Thanks Emily, for reporting this)

So I’ve reached several conclusions:

  •  not many people in the Valley have life mottoes.
  • maybe it’s not luck, but an inherited gene that causes my sisters abilities to win

AND on a completely unrelated note- my thrift store pile is really growing of late… Stay tuned for chances to enter random contests and become a lucky winner…

Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them” Ps 126:2