God is With Me

Cook Forest
Serenity in Cook Forest

A few months ago it was my mother’s eighty sixth birthday. Besides being a wonderful celebration of another year with her, it also marked the departure of my youngest sister to her new job and a new location. It was a time of transition for all of us. I won’t deny that it was stressful for me (and I’m sure, all of us) and I prayed that my “One Day At A Time” motto would continue to work for me. I became the (mostly) sole sibling responsible for being available to my mother.

As if God was with me, some truly amazing things began to happen and continue to unfold. It has been a sequence of events- one after another- and I’ve been humbled by them.

Selected for Cook Forest
Selected for Cook Forest- wow!

First, a national forest in Pennsylvania selected one of my photos for their profile picture on Facebook. Now this may not sound like a big deal, but it has been a thrill seeing my photo every time Cook Forest State Park posts on their Facebook page. As if this wasn’t enough for my five minutes of fame, the Orthodox Christian Network published my first post ever for them on my mother’s birthday, May 1.

So I’ve published six posts (click HERE to see my page) since then to a tune of over 10K combined likes on Facebook and other social media sites. I don’t say this with an air of ego. I say it with my mouth open, a surprised look on my face, and a few semi-sleepless nights.

God is with me. I have been walking a spiritual path where I decide daily that the things I am most afraid of- new experiences, loss, stress- are the things I must turn over to God. I trust that I am being guided to write, serve, be there, suit up and show up. I may stumble, make mistakes but I get back up again and plod steadily along. Most of the time, I don’t mind stretching my limits and embracing change. My dad loved challenges and I think (haha!) that he must have passed this along to me.

I’m helping with a new ministry in Beaver County. Many Orthodox churches are getting involved and it’s very inspiring. When I get home from the evening meetings, I am so excited that I have to wind down before bed. This ministry is keeping me busy, among other things, and when you’re occupied in happy things you don’t have time to worry or fret.

So yes, God is with me. I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life right now, including my mom, great friends, my sisters, Jim and the kids, Jess, Jordan, and these wonderful experiences bringing light into my life.

Looking Up


Join me on my graceful journey.

19 Replies to “God is With Me”

  1. This is wonderful news Joanne. Your photo is beautiful; no wonder it was chosen. Lovely to see your writing on the Orthodox Christian Network. I was very interested to read about Oikonomia. What a pity we don’t look at other economies (of State, Governments etc) as stewardship. They might work better. 😉

    1. I have to pinch myself lately for the beautiful things that are happening. For a while (like last year), life was challenging. But I always say, God has a plan for us and we are not on the planning committee. 🙂
      I say a gratitude prayer every day whether life is going well or not. It keeps me grounded. How you are doing? Is spring approaching yet?

  2. Love the photo! If my recent health concerns have taught me anything, it’s that life is too short not to enjoy every moment. It’s hard with the ‘extra helping’ of things to cause me stress, but I am trying to give it all to God and just move forward. 4 days after my heart attack, I entered a short story into a contest. It didn’t win…the rules were unclear and the deadline for submissions was also the deadline for voting. Enough of my friends liked it that I decided to self publish it. I have sold 10 copies…even one in the UK (yeah, it’s a friend!:))! I am currently working on a sequel. Will I ever get rich off y writing? Doubtful, but I am having fun and putting things out there to entertain others, and that makes me happy!
    Keep doing what you love!

  3. Joanne, this is inspiring and most wonderful. Congratulations on your photo being chosen! I am so happy for you. It’s a beautiful photo and I’m glad it’s getting attention. There is so much ugliness in the world which gets more attention than it deserves, and the beauty that is portrayed seems to be be pushed under the universal couch. We need more beauty for our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our mouths to speak of.

    Continue walking this God inspired path, and you will be fine. You mentioned that when we work on happy things there is no time to worry or fret. I so agree, which is why I’m always talking about my writing or art (which I haven’t done enough of lately). I’m always trying to find new ways to ‘put it out there’ to share because it makes me happy – when I’m creating I’m in prayer – I don’t know how else to express it.

    I wish you all the best in every adventure….

    Blessings for a joyous day,
    Marianne xox

    1. Hi Marianne! Thank you for your beautiful words. We are so lucky, you and I, to be able to write and express our love for God. It is a gift. I’m grateful for all those who inspire me and you are certainly one of my many treasured friends. Keep writing and creating!

  4. Your photograph is quiet and so beautiful.
    I love what you wrote…..if you are happy doing what you love, you don’t have time to worry or fret.
    Perfect advise to live by.
    Thanks for sharing this amazing light filled time of your life. Secretly fun to be along for the ride.
    Gosh, I feel grateful and so lucky to have you in my life.
    The playground is so much sweeter with a smarty girl like you to hang out with.
    Heartfelt congratulations on your writing.
    It is beautiful to watch you grace so many lives.
    Hugs from the left coast,

  5. A beautiful person reflects from these beautiful words….beautiful pictures & inspiring thoughts. Your thoughts are always a good start to my day…thank you! “Always, always something to be grateful for♡”

  6. Brava, Joanne! Such wonderful news…and affirming blessings!
    I went to the website, and your posts are inspired and inspiring; the introduction to you, your work and your family is lovely.
    Your picture on the Facebook Cook Forest site is beautiful (but the final picture took me back years and touched me most–it reminded me of when I used to lie on the ground and take pictures of the canopy of tree branches overhead–so I especially thank you for that one.
    God is good, and definitely with you, dear Joanne.

    1. I am so grateful Marylin and especially for the friendship of my writer friends like you who continue to inspire and encourage me. Thank you for checking out my site.
      And I love taking pictures looking up. It feels so wonderful, doesn’t it?

  7. Congratulations on your many accomplishments Joanne. I still feel like deep in our hearts we will always be best friends. So proud of you!

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