Friday, July 27, 2012


Dear JOY Blog readers,

I am thankful to all of you for reading JOY Blog. God gave me JOY Blog as a Christian alternative to what the culture offers girls and young women! JOY Blog has always been a place where I want to see God glorified above all else! In the past few months, I have not been able to dedicate as much time as I think this ministry deserves.

As Ecclesiastes 3:1(NIV1984) says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." At this time, most of my writing is being done on my personal blog, Musings Made By Mandy. While you may see some postings on here every now and then, most of my writing will be done on Musings. If you would like to read more of my writing, please follow me on my personal blog: I would love to see you over there!

In this season, I feel God is calling me to focus in this one place. So in this season of down time for JOY Blog, come visit me on my blog and see how God is working in my life. On Musings, you will see random thoughts, stories, the hard times, and the times filled with JOY. 

So come on over to Musings!

Joy and hugs,

Mandy H.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Author favorites - Summer Activities

Hey everyone!

Summer is half-way over, yet there is plenty of time for some more fun summer activities! I thought I would share some of my favorite summer activities. Please comment what you love to do during the summer! I'll add them to this list! Have fun!

Mandy H.

Mandy's Favorite Summer Activities

  • Volunteering! (I love to volunteer! There are so many fun things you can do - visit the elderly, become politically active, help in the Church nursery, babysit for free, be creative and come up with your own ideas based on things you love!)
  • Being at the lake (or in the pool). I love to play on the lake. Boating, fishing, tubing, knee boarding, and this year I hope to learn how to wake board!
  • Spending time with my family, especially my nieces and nephews!
  • Having bonfires.  Even though sometimes it is too warm for that, I love the gathering of people around the fire!
  •  Bicycling. I haven't had time to do a lot of it this summer, but I enjoy it!
  •  Reading books, watching movies, or blogging on here or my personal blog! This is one activity that I like if it is SUPER hot out and I need to cool off, I head on down to the basement to do these!!!
Remember to share your ideas below and I will post some of them on here! Have a great summer! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Consider Your Calling...

This is something I posted on personal blog about a week ago.  I have been thinking a lot lately about the place in life that I am. Am I where I am supposed to be? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Most importantly, am I living my life to the glory of God and boasting in Him?

So what is my calling? Many times we get catch up in thinking we are no good enough, strong enough, or smart enough, and we are not...But through Christ's work on the cross, God gives us the strength and the wisdom we need. He takes what we see as unusable and creates new life! So, let us boast, not in ourselves, but in the Lord, because it is through Him that we are who we are today and He will use us to do His work!

These verses show that God uses us all, just as we are, for His glory! Our weakness demonstrates His power! We are to boast in Him!

1 Corinthians 1:25-31 ESV
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Today in the United States, we observe Memorial Day. For many of us, we think of it as a weekend to have fun, the start of summer, and an extra day off of work or school.

We forget the meaning behind this day. Take time today to remember those people who have fought for the freedoms you are enjoying at this very moment.

While we are remembering these heroes, we should also take time to remember the One who gave everything for us and paid the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ. Jesus demonstrated the greatest love for us by laying down His life for us.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 NIV84)

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:7, 8 NIV84)

Take a moment this be grateful for the freedoms you have and for the greatest freedom that you can have- freedom from your sins through faith in Jesus Christ. If you do not yet know this freedom, I encourage you to go to:  or email JOY Blog at: joyfilledgirls [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

National Day of Prayer 2012

The National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 5, 2012. This is a day that people across the nation come together to pray. We pray for our leaders, pastors, government officials, teachers, and more.

I encourage you to answer this call of prayer and gather with your family, friends, and community to pray together for our nation.

Matthew 18:20

  [Jesus said,] "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17

  Pray continually

To find an event near you, go to:

For more information about the National Day of Prayer, go to:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blessings and Gifts

Blessings and Gifts

A small yellow flower blossoming
God’s blessings are all around us. Small ones. Big ones. Some we are surprised by. Others we take for granted. Sometimes, we don’t even see them.

I see blessings as a gift from God. One of the first verses that I remember memorizing as a child was James 1:17a. It was a verse that I put in my heart and claimed as my own. In that verse, James says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17a). Those gifts from God are blessings to me.

Last month, I felt God’s blessing in two ways; first by being able to recognize the blessing, and second by receiving the gift.


Somewhere around this time of year, my family and I like to head south for a few days and get out of the cold climate that we live in. We are not able to do this every year, but if we can we try to do it a few months into the New Year. This year, we picked a week that was free. I had a week off in between college terms and it looked like a good week to go. But due to several different things going on in my family, mostly the health of an extended family member, none of us felt like we could commit to this vacation. We did not want to leave our loved one, no matter how much we wanted to go on this “warm weather” vacation. We all felt it was the right thing to do, to stay home. At the same time, we all wanted to go and get out of the cool weather. But we stayed home and trusted that that was the right thing to do.

And God blessed us. In an area of the country that averages anywhere from 30 degrees at this time of year to 30 below, God blessed us with warm weather, and I mean warm! It was 30-50 degrees warmer during this week than it usually is and it broke several warm weather records for that time of the year.

While it may not seem like a big deal to others, maybe not even to my other family members, it was a big deal to me. It was God’s gift to me. I felt His blessing for trusting Him.


The other part of the blessing that I received was recognizing this gift from God. Sometimes, as I said before, we do not always see God’s blessings and we miss them. I could have done this. I could have missed this gift. But God gave me a double blessing! He blessed me with the gift of warm weather (which meant a great deal to me!) and He blessed me by letting me see it!

I challenge you to see blessings every day. They can be small and you may think they are not there, but I guarantee that God has blessings for you if you are willing to let Him work in your life and if you are open to see them.

Proverbs 10:6a
Blessings crown the head of the righteous…

Do you have any stories of blessings in your life, small or big??? I would love to hear about them. Comment here or email joyfilledgirls [at] hotmail [dot] com.

By Mandy H.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter - 2012

Happy Easter!
He is Risen!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Putting God’s Word in My Daily Life

Jesus - Putting God’s Word in My Daily Life

I have come to realize that it is very hard for me to commit to reading God’s Word every day. Sometimes, I get in these low points where I have such a hard time staying on top of reading a passage every day. I then feel guilty for not having read the Bible, for having not been in His Word. But what can I do about this? I have a very busy life right now, but that is no excuse… God’s Word must come first, He must come first. But still I struggle will filling my days and hours with God’s Word.

A few years ago I read a book called, His Word in my Heart. The book is by Janet Pope. Janet was featuredhere on JOY Blog a couple years ago. So a few years ago, I started memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). I made it through most of chapter 5 and then I kind of stopped. I don’t remember what happened now, but I think I started missing a day or two and then I just stopped…

For Christmas last year, I received the book from Janet Pope (I had read it from my library before). I have been struggling with reading God’s Word every day this year and I finally remembered this book. So I went and got it off the shelf. I have been reading it the last few days and I have been inspired to once again memorize God’s Word. It is my way of being able to stay IN His Word, all day, every day. (For more information on how I am memorizing,check out this post on my personal blog, there are also more links there). I have recommitted to His Word and the study and meditation of it.

Below is a quote from His Word in my Heart. It helps explain why it is so important to have God’s Word with you all the time. Janet is talking about spending time in God’s Word…“You will be acutely aware of His presence in your daily experience, and your heart will overflow with praise and gratefulness. Like a cup running over, you will not be able to contain your joy…You will have accomplished both the goal of meditation and the goal of memorizing Scripture”. (P. 33-34)

You can memorize Scripture, and I encourage you to try it. If you are not sure how to start, read Janet’s book or check out the other blog posts about this.

Remember, “Memorizing is never the final goal; it is only a tool to help us reach the ultimate goal of knowing God and loving Him” (P. 30). So try it out. Read His Word in My Heart. Follow me on my personal journey of memorizing His Word and putting it in my heart (through my personal blog). Apply what you have learned. Get in the Word. And let God change your life through His Word!

 Mandy H.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, check out the links below:
My inspiration for memorizing whole chapters and books of the Bible comes from Janet Pope. I heard her a few years ago on Revive our Hearts and it was very inspiring. You can listen to her here. I then read her book, which I am now reading again, His Word in My Heart by Janet Pope. I was then able to interview her on JOY Blog and learn more about her, By Faith - Janet Pope. I hope this is inspiring to you. Please join in memorizing! Here is another JOY Blog article that I wrote about Bible Memorization. Please check out the link that I have put in this paragraph!

Monday, March 5, 2012

YOU - You are Beautiful, Just the Way You Are

Each one of you ladies is beautiful! God created YOU. And in Genesis, He said what he created was good. He created you after His image. I want each one of you to always remember that God loves you just the way you are. You don't have to look like a movie star or a model. (In this movie, it shows just how unrealistic the final picture is, how the mom and daughter do not even look like themselves after everything.) I have nothing against dressing up and wanting to look beautiful, but I want you to remember, "there could never be a more beautiful you".

Genesis 1:27 (NIV1984)

  So God created man in his own image,
   in the image of God he created him;
   male and female he created them.

More Beautiful You - Jonny Diaz

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

By Faith – Leap Day and a Leap of Faith

By Faith – Leap Day and a Leap of Faith

Here on JOY Blog we talk a lot about living by faith. Part of living by faith is having trust. Part of trusting is taking a “leap of faith.”

I have heard the phrase “leap of faith” many times. Today is Leap Day and I was thinking, “What do you do on Leap Day?” The only things that I could find about Leap Day is that it is the day that women get to ask men out on a date, women can also propose to guys in Leap Year, people born on Leap Day celebrating their quadrennial birthday (one birthday every four years), and that was about it… Honestly, I was disappointed. I was hoping for something big, something exciting…but I didn’t find anything fun.

So I started thinking, “How can I celebrate Leap Day?” “What can I do on this day?” and “How does this apply to my life, especially in my faith walk?”

Then this phrase came to me:

Leap of Faith.

By taking a leap of faith.

When I think about taking a leap of faith, I think a lot about trust. I heard this story one time. There was a little girl in the second story of a house that was on fire. Standing below her, is her dad. He asks her to jump, promising to catch her. He asks her to take a leap of faith, to trust him.

In the same way this little girl has to decide whether or not to take a leap of faith, each of us has to decide whether or not we will take a leap of faith. In our faith walk, there are many times where God gives a choice whether to leap, to jump, or not. For each of us, those times may be different. For some, it may be life decisions or it may be day-to-day decisions. It could be when God asks you to witness and you have to decide whether or not to take a leap of faith. There are big things and little things that can be our specific “leaps”.

2 Corinthians 5:7
We live by faith, not by sight.

The important part of taking a leap of faith is trusting, trusting that God will lead you. You need to trust God and be willing to take those leaps when he calls you to take them. Just like the girl in the fire, you can’t go by what you see, you must walk by faith and not by sight.

How will you take a leap of faith this day/week/month/year? I'd love to hear your answers!

By Mandy H.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

  Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the "romantic" love of Valentine's Day and we forget about the greatest love of all...God's love for us!

John 3:16 (NKJV)

For God so LOVED the [you] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Here are some past JOY Blog posts about love and Valentine's Day:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

JOY Through Trials

Joy Through Trials

Often when hard times come our way, we are not ready for them. No matter if we know in advance or if we try to prepare ourselves for them, we rarely do a good job of preparing. It may be that we can never truly prepare ourselves for trials, for those hard times, hard things.

When I have trials in my life, I frequently think of this verse.

James 1:2-3 says:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

This is a verse I like to think about. I may not completely understand it, but it gives me hope. It gives me hope that I may persevere through those trials. It gives me hope because I know God will be with me through the trials.

But what does the verse mean? Why should we consider it “pure joy” when we face trials? And what does “pure joy” even mean?

My pastor preached a sermon on James a few years ago. Here are some of his thoughts on James 1:2-3:

~JOY is not a feeling of happiness. It is not something that if we try hard enough we can stir up.

~It is not a constantly cheerful mood. Sometimes the appropriate response is to be grieving, sad, and struggling.

~Nor is joy an expectation of relief and comfort.

~Joy is about understanding the spiritual dynamics of the trials that we come under.

In the last quote from my pastor, he says that joy is understanding, understanding the circumstances around us. But more importantly it is about understanding the spiritual dynamics of the situation. So what are the spiritual dynamics? Well, here are my thoughts on this. I believe that it is understanding that God is still with us. He will NEVER leave us (Deuteronomy 31:8). God tells us this many times in the Bible and in many different ways. I also believe that we must remember what the true joy is. In Psalms (Psalm 51:12), it says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me”. God gave us salvation through His Son Jesus. This Psalm is asking God to once again show us the joy that only comes from salvation in Him!

While this verse may have much more to it, the two biggest things that I get from it is (1) God will always be with me and never leave me and (2) I have true joy in my salvation that is found in Christ Jesus! My definition of “joy” has always been that it is something that is on the inside. Even when we may not be “happy” on the outside, we can have joy because of Christ and we can have JOY even in the trials.


This is something that God has laid upon my heart. I know I do not have this all figured out. I would love to hear your descriptions of JOY. I would also love to hear your stories of how God has been with you and given you joy through the trials that you have faced.

I have a personal story that I have wanted to share with you, to help you understand where I am coming from. So here it is:

It was my high school graduation and my parents were reading a letter to me that they had written for me for my graduation day. As my mom read it, she encompassed some of the things that happened during my high school years. One of the things that she said was in my four years of high school, I had lost three of my grandparents. It was true, but I hadn’t realized the expanse of it. I was there with them, I cared for them, I spent time with them, and then I watched them go home to be with Jesus. That day, was the first time I really recognized how hard it hard been on me.

November 2011 – The end of November rolled around and my grandpa started having some doctor appointments. The week before Thanksgiving, he had a test to check for cancer. Cancer, that scary word that no one wants to hear… the word that I have heard before. Three of my grandparents have had cancer. One grandparent had cancer before I was even born and survived. Another had cancer and also survived the cancer, but the treatment was very hard on him. My other grandparent died from cancer. Cancer was not a word I wanted to hear. Then in the weeks before Christmas, we found out that my grandpa did indeed have cancer. Lung cancer. And we also found out that it was not curable. Since that time, my grandpa has been having treatments. While the cancer has not spread and the tumor has not grown, it has not shrunk.

This is where I am at. Dealing with another trial. And realizing that God is with me. It is not easy. Every day, every day, I have to wake up and trust God. I have to trust that He has the bigger plan. I do not have control of it, but He does. Each day, I again have to give my worries to Him. Again and again, I make the decision to find JOY every day. And I can because I have the joy of Christ’s salvation in me!

Mandy H.