Joy, revisited

 

joy

Really? Really?  Really. Is that what joy is supposed to look like? Cuz my joy hasn’t looked anything like that all year long.  Not even one iota close. Maybe wish it had, maybe it would have felt like the earth moved and the world changed a bit for me, yes, for once, for ME! But nah,  it didn’t.

But what did my joy feel like this year?  Was it quiet? Was it rumbling? Was it at least happy? Let me show you a few pics of what my joy felt like…..

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nothing like mom and daughter bonding! 

 

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Getting ready to celebrate K’s 12th birthday!

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Our new dog, Cooper! 

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Messy hair and out to eat! 

These are the celebrations of joy we had. None were really jump out of our skin into the air moments, and I know it’s not all of our joyful moments of the year. It’s just few that K and I have had along the way. I can tell you that there were definitely more joyful moments in the latter part of 2015 than the beginning because big changes happened in the middle of the summer for both of us for the BETTER!!!! Let me tell you, that made a world of difference in the joyfulness of our lives. More on that when I’m on my laptop to type. But for now, more to think on.  What does joy feel like to you? Like that first pic? Or something in between?

~Julie

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Thinking back over 2015

My word for this year was JOY. hmmm.

When I was young and going to Bible school at DeerCreek Lutheran Church, I remember learning that joy represented:

J= Jesus

O= Others

Y= You

That was for us to remember the order in which we pray and give thanks.  Jesus first, then for others,  then yourself.  I still think that is a pretty cool formula!

I want to do more thinking and writing on this subject of joy and what it has meant to me throughout this past year. I will do more in the coming days. 💜

Because of You

I wrote this in honor of my good friend Tracy.  He has made a huge impact on my life.  I first met Tracy when I was 17.  I was a junior counselor at Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp in Story City, IA.  It was the summer after my junior year in high school.  I was struggling with life as most teens do.  My life was crazy as some may know ( if you have heard my story).  But this is a bit of the good stuff.  Camp is/has been my “light in the darkness” or in the darkest times that I can remember.  It was one of my sanctuaries while growing up….even in young adulthood.

©http://blog.gaiam.com/hope-vs-faith/hope-vs-faith/

©http://blog.gaiam.com/hope-vs-faith/hope-vs-faith/

Because of You

Because of you…I am alive today

Because of you…I know what God’s love is like

Because of you…I know what true friendship is means

Because of you…I know that God will never give up on me

Because of you…I know persistence and dedication

Because of you…I know there is hope

Because of you…I know what know how laughing, happiness, joy, faith, peace and love feels inside me

Because of you…I know what God’s unconditional love is, because you have shown me yours.

©www.campnavigator.com

©www.campnavigator.com

Because of you, I know tomorrow might not be perfect, but God’s love never fails.  When I first met you in 1987, I was a mess of a teenage girl.  Bible camp was my escape from a chaos that consumed my thoughts and dreams.  Pastor Art, accepted me as a junior counselor that summer, little did I know that I would meet some of the most wonderful friends I would ever encounter.  You just happen to be one of the friends who made me think about what God has done in my life and what He CAN DO IN my life.  When I felt hopeless, you kept giving me reasons why I should be hopeful.  When I wanted to give up, you helped me find reasons to keep moving forward.

I marked the Bible verse you shared with me that made the biggest difference in my life:  Psalm 139:13-14 “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mothers’ womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I know that full well.”

All this…because of you…and God!

Book: SoulShaping

I have been reading this book called Soul Shaping by Jeff Brown.  It is an amazing book.  I would suggest it to anyone who is searching for meaning or purpose.  I am bringing it along this weekend as I sit at my moms wondering why I am there, other than the obvious birthday party time.

Here is a video he just posted of his journey:

Do you have a wall you write on? A canvas you paint on? A forum for your self-expression that defies reason but that reflects your inner voice? Check out my form of chaotic magnificence. Perhaps it will call you in the direction of yours..

#5 – Something to think about – suffering

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Continuing on my journey of “epiphanies” I have been reading about.  Here is number 5.

5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.

Yikes. It doesn’t sound like a very liberating discovery. I used to believe that if I was suffering it meant that there was something wrong with me — that I was doing life “wrong.” Suffering is completely human and completely normal, and there is a very good reason for its existence. Life’s persistent background hum of “this isn’t quite okay, I need to improve this,” coupled with occasional intense flashes of horror and adrenaline are what kept human beings alive for millions of years. This urge to change or escape the present moment drives nearly all of our behavior. It’s a simple and ruthless survival mechanism which works exceedingly well for keeping us alive, but it has a horrific side effect: human beings suffer greatly by their very nature. This, for me, redefined every one of life’s problems as some tendril of the human condition. As grim as it sounds, this insight is liberating because it means: 1) that suffering does not necessarily mean my life is going wrong, 2) that the ball is always in my court, so the degree to which I suffer is ultimately up to me, and 3) that all problems have the same cause and the same solution.

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So, hmmmmm.  Thoughts?  Well, yeah.  Suffering doesn’t mean that something is ultimately wrong with me or something is wrong with the situation that I am in.  It’s just a part of life.  It is what it is.  Right?  It certainly sucks at times, it’s just that.  sucks.   I have dealt with that before, I will deal with it again.

I think  of that now as I come upon another surgery.  I had my pre-op surgery appointment yesterday.  I began to freak out (the usual) about how I was going to get everything done BEFORE surgery so that things will run more smooth AFTER surgery.  Mind you this is the 4th surgery I have had on this foot.  I have made it through 3, so this should be a breeze, right?  Well, yes and no.  I live in a different city (bigger), my daughter is older and in more activities.  I have more appointments as does she.  That in itself had me wired yesterday.  Ok, breathe.  Thinking about it this morning……IT IS WHAT IT IS!!   I have done this before.

Putting it all into perspective….I will do what I can before surgery date (next Thursday) and then do what I can while laid up for the next how ever long it takes to get better.  K is older and I hope and pray that she will be more helpful.  We have talked and she is willing to be of more help.  I think that will boost her self-esteem knowing that she can do more and feel like she is more grown up.  (good and bad??)  So….with that said.  I have been creating my own suffering.  More like dwelling in it.  But getting it in perspective knowing that, this is also my solution.  I can and will get through this.  One step (pun intended) at a time.

Be well….

🙂

The Daily Post

I have decided to do more posting.  Of course I have said this before.  But WordPress has a thing called “The Daily Post”.  I am going to really try to get this done everyday.  Today is:

Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

My book is “The Story of God” by H. Henry Williams.  He is the pastor of the church I have been going to.  Awesome man of God.

“But God receives into his family those who believe in Christ and receive him.”

The power of the world, the realm controlled by Satan, was defeated when Jesus accepted his Father’s will to go to the Cross. He broke and defeated the power of sin and death. He brought life and immortality to light. He insured that death would not have the final say. So in the middle of sorrows and trials, we can take heart and have peace. Not because things are easy, but because the hard things of this life are temporary and are preparing for us an eternal glory. Our peace is not in the absence of strife or troubles, but in Jesus and what he has done to make our future sure!  God will always receive into his family those who believe in Christ and receive him.  I believe in God.  I believe that He has taken me in.  He has healed me.  I am a part of his family even though I have have had sorrow and trials.  You can too.