Caught up in Contagious Joy

I began a new book this week that, given the first chapter, I know is going to be phenomenal. Just a quick post to share a brilliant quote from it.

Exuberance – The Passion for Life
by Kay Redfield Jamison

“We have given sorrow many words, but a passion for life few.

Yet it is the infectious energies of exuberance that proclaim and disperse much of what is marvelous in life. Exuberance carries us places we would not otherwise go — across the savannah, to the moon, into imagination — and if we ourselves are not so exuberant we will, caught up in the contagious joy of those who are, be inclined collectively to go yonder. By its pleasures, exuberance lures us from our common places and quieter moods; and — after the victory, the harvest, the discovery of a new idea or an unfamiliar place — it gives ascendant reason to venture forth all over again. Delight is its own reward, adventure its own pleasure.”

Doesn’t that set fire to your soul and send a shiver of anticipation down your spine? This is what I want out of life. What I strive for. To bring exuberance and passion to the everyday mundane moments of life. Go out and have a day filled with irrepressible exuberance!

Delighting in Dandelions

As a homeowner and struggling lawn keeper, I’ve often wondered what possessed God to create dandelions. They are the bane of gardeners everywhere, an impossible to kill nuisance that seemingly does nothing but cause headaches. Yes, I know you can eat them…I tried that as a kid. Bleah. Not interested in doing it again during adulthood. As we took our family walk today, I became awash in an old familiarity with this little weed, that offered me a new, and yet nostalgic, perspective.

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Devotional – A Different Kind of Present

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.

There are times when it seems like God is not there. Days that stretch into weeks of wondering why He doesn’t seem to be fixing it. Making it better. I struggle in the helplessness I feel when facing a problem that is obviously too big. Too complicated. Too hard. I forget that I’m not the one who’s supposed to conquer my troubles. Continue reading

Devotional – Thanksgiving

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Note that it doesn’t say “Rejoice when you are happy, pray when you need something, give thanks for the good in your life.”. But somehow, that’s how we all live. We think joy is an emotion, a feeling that comes when we get what we want. Prayers come much quicker when there’s something in it for us and our thankful heart turns cold when we think God isn’t being fair. Continue reading

Devotional – Irish Eyes

Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make His face shine upon you. And be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

A lovely blessing for this, the end of another work week. Like so many passages I’ve read in the last month, I’ve heard these verses from various pulpits, pastors and other people in my life, but never read it myself in the Bible. It is a nice feeling to read such familiar words, and see them in a new light as God opens His word to me. Continue reading

Devotional – Woo Hoo!

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Yesterday, I got a horrible migraine at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. My husband is usually home around 5:30. Those ninety minutes seemed like torture. My daughter wanted me to sing with her, my son was feeling grumpy/tired and whining. I felt like my head was going to explode. I pulled out my phone to call my husband when he wasn’t home at 5:31…and saw an e-mail saying he’d be working late. That he probably wouldn’t be heading out of the office until half past 5. I felt like vomiting. By the time Zack walked in the door at 6:20, I could hardly walk my head hurt so badly. I remember mumbling something and staggering to the blissful black of my bedroom and closing the door. I remember nothing else except about 20 seconds of my husband coming to bed around 11. Then my alarm was going off this morning.

Let’s just say that I wasn’t pleased with how my day ended up yesterday. And, this morning I still have the aching remnants of that headache. I’ll never be able to explain how bad it is for those of you who’ve never had a migraine, my fellow sufferers need no description. I really kind of feel like being grumpy all day because of all I had to get accomplished that just didn’t get done last night. But what am I instructed to do upon opening my Bible this morning? Rejoice and be glad in the day God has made. Super.

Much more often than I’d like to admit, I reach the end of the day with a list of complaints. Rather than focus on the joys of each day, I get caught up in what didn’t go well. I forget that God crafted that day with special purpose for me. In the morning, I don’t think about the promise and possibility of the day ahead, instead concentrating on what tasks need to be completed. Daily we should delight in the wonderful gift of life. We’re not promised tomorrow. Instead of that making us somber, it should make us supremely grateful for the day in front of us. So, I chose to say “Woo-hoo for today!” I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me.

Devotional – Thanks For Nothing

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (The Message)

I say “thank-you” all the time. When I drop my daughter off at child care, if someone lets me in front of them in line, picks up a toy Donovan has thrown from the cart, or hands me a sugar packet I couldn’t reach across the tea-table. The niceties in life are always met with a swift “thanks”. But how often do I thank God for the blessings in my life? Not often enough. Even less do I thank Him in the midst of trouble. My devotional book is written as if it’s Jesus talking, a line from today read – “When you thank Me for the many pleasures I provide, you affirm that I am God, from whom all blessings flow. When adversity strikes and you thank Me anyway, your trust in My sovereignty is a showpiece in invisible realms.”

I recognize God’s overt blessings in my life. I’m grateful for my (mostly) well-behaved children, caring husband, comfortable home, for the career Zack has been successful in and that God allows me the freedom to be home raising my family. I cherish my childhood, the advantage I have as a mother because I had godly, loving examples for parents. My grandmother is taking my husband and I (and siblings, parents, cousins etc.) on a week-long Mexican cruise – I’m REALLY grateful for that! I’m supremely thankful for my good health and ability to use all my limbs. Which brings me to the concept of thanking God in adversity. I don’t know that I’ve ever done that. I certainly have never overflowed with thanksgiving for the struggles in my marriage. When Madison is being an ornery three-year old I’m not praising God for her presence in my life. When my dad started having heart problems, I don’t remember emoting gratitude. When I was told just after Christmas that my legs still needed another month to heal, I didn’t walk out of the clinic worshiping the Lord for His goodness in my life.

Griping and complaining rather than being thankful is a demonstration of distrust. As hard as it is for me to grasp, no matter what happens, God know what He’s doing. The application of knowing that is gratitude. For the good and bad in life, cheerfulness. I need to take a deep breath and be disciplined in displaying joy.