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Love Out Loud

Love Out Loud

At only 10 years old, my parents gave me my first Ideals poetry book. Written inside the front cover are the sweet memories, “To JoAnne because she loves beautiful things. Mama and Daddy, Mumps Day.” I still enjoy reading poetry and I have written a few poems over the years. As a young girl, I would have never imagined that my life would be blessed with a special friend that writes some of those beautiful poetry books that I now have sitting up on my shelf. When Connie Arnold recently asked me if I would like to be a part of the blog tour for her newest book, Abundant Comfort and Grace, it touched my heart to be able to share some of her poignant verses to go along with my post.

Our thankfulness we can show by what we do and say
and by always striving to do our best each day.
The best way to give thanks is by loving and giving
as we follow Christ’s example in the life we are living.

Our local shelter was asking the community to contribute signed birthday cards with a $1.79 donation inside each envelope; enough to pay for one meal for a homeless person. The rescue mission was planning an all-out birthday party—complete with a birthday cake, ice cream, a gift for each individual, decorations, and giveaways. At the last minute, I eagerly decided to get involved, feeling one of those nudges from God.

Remembering back to the first time I had really witnessed the harshness of life, I can still envision a frail-looking man curled up on the sidewalk in a fetal position partially covered with a quilted baby-sized blanket. Staring down at what I thought were gaping holes in his socks, I was stunned to notice that this destitute person was not wearing any socks or shoes. The soles of his bare feet had worn through several layers of skin like bald tires. In my city, Portland, Oregon alone it has been estimated that we presently have over 4,000 homeless individuals, which doesn’t include the down-and-out living in cardboard boxes under the bridges. We are not talking about the deceptive panhandlers either standing on the busy street corners, but rather human beings who are truly less-fortunate.

In only three days, I managed to collect over 50 birthday greeting cards from friends, neighbors, clerks at the grocery stores, our family’s doctor and dentist offices, anyone that I could ask at such short notice. Unexpectedly, an overnight express package arrived addressed to me from over 2000 miles away. Tucked inside was a deep sense of caring from a group of eight young women at my middle-daughter’s university. Included in their birthday cards and monetary donations for total strangers was an added special touch of thoughtfulness… each card signed individually with love from one of the eight girls listing their different home states.

I found that sharing blessings with the less fortunate can be contagious. Some people just seem to be born with a generous nature, while I believe others learn from example. Life blossoms when we are role models that help plant the seeds of showing love and compassion for others.

Please join us in celebrating our friend Connie Arnold’s writing successes. As you read each of the inspiring blog posts on her tour, don’t forget to leave comments in order to add your name in the running for two drawings on August 14. One prize will be for a free copy of Connie’s first book, Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace, while the other is a $10 Amazon gift certificate. Also, there will be an additional drawing for a $25 Amazon gift certificate. Your name will be entered for this drawing when purchasing a signed copy of her newest book, Abundant Comfort and Grace, from her secure website http://www.conniearnold.webs.com If you choose to buy your copy from RPJ & Company and Amazon, just contact Connie with confirmation of your online purchase to have your name added to the drawing. Thank you!

Come follow me to the next blog on the tour Simply 4 God at http://simply4god.blogspot.com/

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  • Liberty says:

    What a fun idea! I love the thought of a blog tour. Inspiring words from both of you.

  • JoAnne, thank you for being an important part of my blog tour. I love the title of your post! Your story is very inspiring, and it’s great to join with you in loving out loud. Blessings to you and all your readers!

  • Joan Sparks says:

    I love your story. You are the perfect example of a person who “loves out loud”. Thank God that you are a part of my life and that I have been able to enjoy all your writing from day one. What a wonderful journey.

  • JoAnne, Another great story!! There have always been homeless people but it could be any one of us at any time. If one person helps and someone witnesses it, then maybe it will inspire that person to pay it forward. Thank you for being my giving friend.

  • Audra Krell says:

    This is truly wonderful and the way you write it is very inspiring this Tuesday morning!

  • Val says:

    Great story my friend…as usual. Your words are always inspiring those around you to love…to love out loud…and then love louder!!!!! t|Thank you for your constant encouragment and inspriation to everyone you meet.

  • Bridget says:

    I’m so glad I stopped by, JoAnne. Wonderful words and lots of inspiration to be found in your post, my friend.

  • JoAnne, your idea is wonderful and so easy to do. I will keep this as my next Big Give effort! You have inspired me! I am thankful that Connie lead me to your blog!

  • JoAnne says:

    Liberty, I know I can always count on your generous-loving family to help with my charity projects. Thank you for sharing your children with me and being a special part of my life.

  • JoAnne says:

    Thank you Connie for the chance to be a part of your poetry blog tour. My best friend helped me come with the title; that’s because she knows me well :). I am looking forward to seeing how God continues to inspire you down the path in your beautiful writing journey. With love and encouragement in celebrating your successes.

  • JoAnne says:

    It certainly has been a remarkable journey my loving friend, Joan. What I have learned from the sometimes painful chapters is to keep putting my heart into words and loving out loud. Thank you for always being such a positive, caring person in my life!

  • JoAnne says:

    If I am going to share names with someone– I am glad it’s you JoAnn. You have truly blessed my life with your gift of searching endlessly :). Just think, my genealogy isn’t all over the place anymore, regardless if it doesn’t all make sense. Thanks for always taking the time to listen and showing you care my friend.

  • JoAnne, you are such a dear and special person, and I appreciate so much your support and encouragement. It’s wonderful to see how God is using you to touch other people’s hearts. I’m thankful to be a part here of sharing about loving and giving.

  • JoAnne says:

    Audra, we shall call it Inspirational Tuesday. I am so glad we met on FB. I love reading your posts as well. And P.S. I have noticed recently…no mention of the word “ER.” Thanks for stopping by my friend.

  • JoAnne says:

    You are a wonderful best friend Val. And we certainly share a love for writing. Thanks; you know me well when it comes to “Love Out Loud.” :). God truly shines through you. I love you my writing buddy!

  • JoAnne says:

    Hi Bridget, Thanks for stopping by. Did you know that we had that many homeless in OR? I can’t fathom what it must be like during such tough economical times like for the many down-on-their luck parents’ with children. There must be away we can do more to help them. I am praying.

  • JoAnne says:

    Thanks Carolynn for stopping by. I would love to know more about your Big Give Effort! If there’s anything I can do to help, please let know. Nice meeting you!

  • Val says:

    I love you as well my best friend. I am privileged to be a part of your writing journey…your life journey, as we all learn to become closer to Him and share God’s love out loud!

  • Val says:

    Here in San Diego the current statistics are that there about 7,900 people in the City of San Diego. city by city…state by state…the need for love is definitely overwhelming.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    There are so many ways that we can all help others in this world and it’s good to hear about yours and your added boost to Connie’s efforts. It’s amazing that we should have any destitute homeless in our great country. It would be nice to find that ultimate solution that would end it.

    Tossing It Out

  • Such lovely comments from everyone here! It great to see the outpouring of Christian caring in the post and from each of you commenting!

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  1. So sad, what a terrible experience. and I know it was only one of many for you. Love you friend!!!
  2. This fills me with sadness: “No child should have to continually try to make a parent love them.” What a tragedy that your mother was not able to accept love from you. My guess is that deep down, she didn’t feel lovable, and she had to cover that shameful fact up with a bunch of br…
  3. It’s insane that these findings were made but nothing was done about it. All these years later, you are still waiting for the wrongs to be righted.
  4. I love you❤
  5. I hope you are able to find more on the first chapters of your life. How twisty things became when people had to hide things…ugh. Sad.