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DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: Peace and joy

My wife and I love gardening. I focus on planting and growing the vegetable garden. She loves to create planters with beautiful plant combinations. She has a number of perennials that come back every year. Our back patio and front porch are filled with beautiful plants which makes spending time outside like being in an oasis.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

I like to sit outside among the plants and enjoy the peacefulness. Our street is generally quiet and I can always hear some birds singing when I am outside. I enjoy walking around the yard and looking at all the beautiful flowers and vegetables. Each plant has its season which I anticipate with great joy. There is always something to see in our yard.

I finished planting the vegetable garden the other day just before all the rain hit. Everything is looking good and I am excited about the new growing season. There are still more flowers to plant and I am always scheming about how I can get a second planting in my vegetable garden.

I just love having my hands in the dirt and seeing what I can get to grow. I often talk about working in the garden, but it doesn’t feel like work. Being out in the yard gives me such great pleasure.

We have some fruit growing out back, too. I love red raspberries and have a good sized bed full of them. We also have some blueberry bushes, although I want to plant more of them. I can eat blueberries all year long. I would like to grow some strawberries one day. There is nothing like eating something you grew.

I am fortunate; I find peace and joy in many things. Gardening or just being outside around things that are growing ministers to my spirit. I also find joy in teaching my Chinese students.

I also experience joy and peace when I am writing.

There are so many things that can steal our peace and joy. Some people are working overtime on their jobs, especially in the health care field. Imagine the UPS, FedEx, Amazon and U.S. mail employees who are delivering packages to our houses since we can’t get out and go shopping.

Then you have to consider the retail that is open, grocery stores, pharmacies and the restaurant workers, who are all working hard to provide goods and services for us. I wonder if they are able to disconnect from their work and find the peace and joy they need.

Then you have to think about all the people who aren’t working because of COVID-19. They want to work, but the stay-at-home orders have kept them from their jobs. The financial stress and worry that these people are facing has got to be stealing their peace and joy.

As a retired teacher, I think about schools. Teachers get such great joy out of imparting knowledge, skills and abilities to students. There are no students in physical classrooms now.

Students are missing athletics, clubs and all the after school activities. They are missing their friends at lunch and in the halls. They are missing milestone moments like prom and graduation.

It’s easy to lose your joy and peace when you are missing a major part of your life.

Finding your joy and peace comes back to two main things. First, our main source of joy and peace comes from being in our Father’s presence. God is the source of perfect peace. He longs to fill your heart with joy. Sometimes we don’t have it because we don’t ask for it.

The second source of joy and peace is a little more challenging because we have to analyze ourselves.

What can we do that gives us joy and peace?

For some it is found in music. For my little sister, it is going for a run. For others it might be doing something artistic. Many enjoy working on their vehicles.

Each of us enjoys doing something that brings pleasure to our lives. Discovering your pleasurable activity and participating in it can help to restore your peace and joy.

I want to encourage you to spend time with God who is our source of peace and joy and allow Him to stir that up within you. I also want to encourage you to spend some time on yourself.

You know what brings you peace and joy. Take time to do those things. Allow the Lord to renew your spirit so you can share your new found peace and joy with your family and friends.

We all need a refreshing dose of peace and joy. I pray God will restore yours.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com.