the joybook

a collection of grace-filled gifts and gratitudes

because sometimes joy is as simple as…

Happy little girls

{every friday, a silent meditation on a joy found}

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good morning, again

Deschutes River

The beginning of each new day is full of possibility.  Each day is precious, never guaranteed. Today could be my last, but it might not so I try to balance my living.

I will still go to the office but I won’t take things quite as seriously.  I’ll have fun and enjoy myself and encourage those around me to do the same.  I will look for ways to do good.  I will examine my motives and weed out the selfishness that sneaks in at every moment.

And just in case it is my last day, I will make sure that those near me know how special they are.  I’ll be sure to tell Kaia that the stories she writes fill me with joy and pride.  I will tell Elliot that nothing compares to holding her warm, 4-year-old body close to mine, the weight of all that she will become heavy and promising in my arms.  I will tell Mike that I’ve never been happier.  And I will scratch June’s furry little head for a little longer than usual.

good morning, again.

goodness is a gift

Winter view

My world has been tossed upside down as the reality of the dark world we live in makes itself more known to me.  I’ve been shaken.  Now as I begin to stand up and brush myself off, everything looks a bit different.

I thought I lived in a safe world, a protected world where good things are given to those who deserve them.  I really never voiced that opinion but now I realize this is the way I was living.  I’m embarrassed.  I’ve been living with the attitude of the entitled.  I deserve good in my life.

I don’t see the world that way any longer – and for that I am grateful.  I see the world for the dark, evil place it is.  But with that, I now see the everyday good that happens – snowflakes, good health today, a well-stocked kitchen, friends that love me, sunny days – as gifts. Not something I am entitled to, but something to enjoy and appreciate and give thanks for.  Tomorrow may bring something different.

We are not guaranteed anything but hardship, tragedy, heartbreak. But this ugly truth turns every good into a grace-filled gift and my gratitude takes me to a place of true thankfulness.

finding church

Central OregonToday I didn’t go to church this morning.  I just couldn’t.

Because church doesn’t have to be confined within four walls.  Because gathering together as a family shouldn’t mean segregation based on age or current marital status.  Because church could be a mutual conversation, not a man that talks at a group of people with no break in monologue. Because church shouldn’t be a place where the door greeter is the only person not too busy or distracted to acknowledge me.

Today I would create my own church.

I bundled the girls up and we went to the river – an unrestrained and free creation that moved us to worship.  Together we played in the snow, counted ducks and let the sun warm our cold cheeks.  We hugged and laughed and loved each other.  Lunch was spent in fellowship with the Harris family.  It was loud and honest; we discussed God and art, ego and how to make a good cup of coffee.

Today I found church.  This church wasn’t confined, uncomfortable or lonely.  It was real.  It was encouraging.  It’s what church can be, should be.

because sometimes joy is as simple as…

Converse are cool

{every friday, a silent meditation on a joy found}

forget resolutions – what i really want from the new year

welcome to 2013

I keep thinking that I should work on a list of new year resolutions.  I’ll list a few and then stop, “Get more organized, run two more races then I did last year, take a class at the community college…”  But this list just doesn’t feel right to me.

After thinking about this for a few days, I realize what the problem is.  The list?  Who cares.  Like really.  Who cares.  Sure, it would be cool to make it through 2013 with a bunch of check marks to show for the year but those tasks are just things to do.  And I already have plenty of things on my to-do list.

What I really want to work on this year is me.  Who do I want to be by the end of the year?  What changes would I like to have made in my personal life?  If this is my last year on earth, I don’t want to end it with a completed to-do list.  I want to end it with a stronger character, a softer heart, a clearer purpose.

I want to live more honestly, love more passionately, laugh more often and give more generously.  I want to create beauty, investigate the world, and pray for change.  I want to take care of others, dance without concern, and be brave enough to be me.

Happy new year.

the truest treasures

Holding treasures

There are many things that I take seriously and spend much energy on – my job, bills, an organized house, folded laundry, my kitchen pantry contents.  How silly I have been, wasting my time on those things.

Instead, I must take seriously the true treasures – laughter shared with my daughters, an embrace from my husband, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a clear blue sky, thoughtful gestures, tiny baby toes, kind words. In the end?  Nothing matters as much as these things.  Nothing.

May I begin this new year holding close the beautiful truth, joy and love.

glimpses of beauty

Leaf drawn in the snow

I’ve put this journal aside for a bit and now I realize I need it more than ever.  The reality of the world’s darkness weighs so heavy on me.  It’s a burden that I wonder if I can move under.  But during this holiday season, I caught glimpses of beauty that helped me understand I can go on.  Despite the ugly world we live in, there is much beauty to be found.  I’ve developed a desire to fight for the light, the joy, the hope, the beauty that is present.  A soldier of light.  And I want to surround myself with joy.  I want to spread love. I want to share hope with anyone else who may need help standing beneath the weight of the world.

Won’t you join me?

welcome to you…again

the long walk home

It seems that all my bridges have been burned,
But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with every start – Mumford & Sons

because sometimes joy is as simple as…

Lights in the snow

{every friday, a silent meditation on a joy found}