Friday, January 31, 2014

Day 31, January 31

Here it is the last day of the month.  I'm still trying to accomplish a few things.  When I review the last thirty- one days, I realize that I am happiest when I remember my priorities:  faith, family, friends, and purpose.

I frequently find that these priorities overlap.  When I did some family history work, with the help of a dear friend, I realize that I am incorporating all four ideals:  faith, because our church encourages genealogy work, family, because I am helping to redeem those of my family who have gone before; friends, because a sweet friend is there to encourage me; purpose, because I am doing something worthwhile.

Joy for today:  overlapping priorities.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day 30, January 30

Yesterday I wrote about complaining, mean-spirited people.  I am loathe to admit that, at times, I have been that person.  I have been the person other people want to avoid at all costs.  I have been the person who tears down rather than uplifts.

It sucks.

When I find myself falling into that pattern of negativity, I go through the various stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, and, finally, acceptance.  When I accept that I'm a pain in the patookie (is that how you spell it?), I resolve to do better.

I push myself up and try to find something good to comment on and someone nice to compliment.  You know what?  It isn't that hard.  It isn't hard at all, in fact, to find the beauty rather than the ugliness, the flowers rather than the weeds.

Joy for today:  finding beauty, finding flowers.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Day 29, January 29

We're skipping back to the subject of two days ago:  planting, reaping, and harvesting.

In that post, I described a couple who have planted good seeds all of their lives.  Chances are you know people like that.  I hope you do.  Chances are you also know others who have planted not-such-good seeds.  Most of us don't get away without knowing at least one or two of these people.

You know who these people are because of how you feel when you are around them.  You probably feel discouraged, depressed, or just plain tired.  They drain energy and zap good feelings due to their endless complaints and mean-spirited comments.  You endure their company because they are a co-worker, a person on the PTA committee where you've volunteered, or (horror) a family member.

Joy for today:  finding people like my friends who uplift rather than tear down.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 28, January 28

We're going to switch subjects and move on to Steven, Larry's and my second son.  Today is his 35th birthday.  (It just gets harder and harder to convince anyone, including my grandchildren, that I am only 29!)

Steve is our middle child, third out of five.  Some might say he is a peacemaker because of this birth order position.  However, I believe Steve came from heaven with this disposition already in place.

He is quiet-spoken, with emotions that run deeply.  But when he does talk, people listen.  He doesn't prattle on, as I do, but speaks with deliberation and thought.  He sets goals, then goes after them with equal parts dogged determination and faith.

Joy for today:  loving Steven.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 27, January 27

Lately I've been thinking about planting and harvesting.  My thinking is somewhat out of sync, as this is neither spring (planting time) nor fall (harvest time).  But I am often out of sync with the rest of the world, so I  will go with it.

Last fall, Larry and I planted some bulbs, hoping they will bloom this spring.  (Our gardening skills are iffy at best, so we wait and pray.)  As we planted the bulbs, I was put in mind of a dear couple in our ward, who have planted bulbs (or seeds) all their lives, seeds of service and love and compassion.

Those seeds have come back to them in glorious bloom in the love that others return to them. It is no surprise that they are loved and revered in our ward; nor is it a surprise that their example spreads to others as we try to emulate them.

Certainly, this comparison is not original with me.  The metaphor of planting seeds of flowers and love is an old one.  Perhaps it is an old one because it is so very true.

In a world where many people try to circumvent (or skip altogether) the steps necessary to lasting rewards, the law of the harvest remains immutable.  There is no circumventing it.  We truly do reap what we've planted.

Joy for today:  appreciating the law of the harvest.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Day 26, January 26

You may have noticed that this posting is late.  What can I say?  It seems my memory decided to take a vacation!

Well, it's back.  It will probably go on vacation again, but what can you expect from a woman who has passed that 60 mark and now looks upon her 50s as the "good old days?"

I had the opportunity to be humbled recently when I needed to call on a friend to help me with a computer problem.  I call her up and said, "Suzanne, I have a problem.  I need help."

Suzanne dropped everything to come to my aid.  When she saw what I was trying to do, she volunteered to go back to her home and bring something else.  She spent several hours of her day helping me, running back and forth.  I would hae been lost without her.

Joy for today:  turning to a friend for help.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Day 25, January 25

The men among you may want to skip this first paragraph.  It is directed to women:

Have you ever tried one-size-fits-all pantyhose?  If you have, you've discovered what I have:  they don't work.  A five foot nothing woman cannot wear the same pantyhose as a five foot ten inch woman.  Even with my limited knowledge of physics, I can figure that out.

However, this is something that fits all of us.  (Okay, men, you can join us now.)  The Gospel of Jesus Christ fits everyone.  It doesn't matter our size or our gender, our weaknesses or our strengths, the Gospel is for you.  No, we won't all wear it the same way.  Nor will we all find it at the same point in our lives. But the fact remains, that the Gospel--a belief in Christ and His teachings--fits all of us.  And isn't that wonderful?

Joy for today:  finding that the Gospel of Christ is a perfect fit.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 24, January 24

Lately I've been thinking about pruning.  Perhaps my thoughts stem from inspecting my rose bushes.

Last fall, I pruned them back.  As I look at them now, I worry that I was too enthusiastic in my clipping.  Did I take away too much, leaving them with not enough to sustain them through a harsh winter?  I don't know.  What concerns me even more, though, is my personal pruning.  There, I worry that I was not enthusiastic enough in pruning back my weaknesses and sins.

Take my unrelenting resentment of certain individuals.  Certainly I have not been enthusiastic enough in pruning away my dislike and resentment.  Then there is my disappointment in those who don't live up to my expectations, including myself.  Once again, not enthusiastic enough.

In a few more months, I'll be able to see if the roses will bloom again.  My personal blooming will take longer--years, decades--before I see the results there.

Joy for the day:  accepting that pruning must be done, both in roses and in lives.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 23, January 23

During the first weeks of January, bitterly cold temperatures swept through much of the country.  Schools were caneled, flights were delayed, and many of us headed to the stores to stock up on supplies before the next storm hit.

It occurred to me that though I didn't need physical supplies--we were well stocked--I did need supplies of another kind, though.  I needed faith.  I needed forgiveness.  I needed compassion.  Unfortunately, I couldn't go buy those at the closest store; nor could I order them over the internet.

I had to find them in myself.  And my "store" was empty, at least temporarily.  I didn't have enough faith, forgiveness, or compassion within me for me.  Consequently I didn't have enough to share with others.

So I dug down deep, put on the cloak of humility, and asked the Savior if I could use some of His.  Of course, He said yes.  Isn't that wonderful?  It reminds me of a hymn, "I Stand All Amazed." 

Joy for today:  standing amazed at the love Jesus offers me.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 22, January 22

"I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives."--Tracy Chapman.

Are you fortunate enough to have angels in your lives?  I am.  I hope you are as well.  My angels are ordinary people who live ordinary lives doing extraordinary things.

Among my angels:

My husband, who has stood beside me for more than 40 years.
My sister, who endures well and lives well.
My friends, who invite me to laugh with them.
My children, who remind me not to take myself too seriously.

Joy for today:  being sheltered in the arms of angels.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 21, January 21

A friend sent the following to me:

"I was at McDonald's for breakfast one morning and invited a lady about my age to join me. after we talked for a while, I noticed a leafless tree with light bark against the back stop of beautiful dark evergreens. I commented to her how beautiful the tree looked. So symmetrical and perfect. I was filled with joy at the sight as I often am when I take time to just stare at nature. Her comment to me was ‘you have such a positive outlook on life.’ I realized that she, like many of us fail to just stare at the beauty of nature and feel the joy. We have awesome sunsets. I am so uplifted whenever I stare at those too."

Joy for the day:  finding beauty in nature.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 20, January 20

"We ... are a covenant people.  From the day of baptism through the spiritual milestones of our lives, we make promises with God and He makes promises with us.  He always keeps His promises offered through His authorized servants, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with him."--President Henry B. Eyring (of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

As a child, I learned that a covenant was a two way promise.  As my understanding grew, I realize that covenants were the cornerstone of our religion, indeed, our very lives.  Covenants remind us of commitments, of the blessings to come if we are true and faithful.

The Relief Society theme for our ward this year is cleaving unto covenants.  The writer in me appreciates the alliteration; the woman in me loves the idea of holding fast to covenants.  Over the years, Larry and I have had some disagreements, even downright fights.  Though we sometimes doubted our love for each other, we never doubted our commitment to the covenants we made, both to each other and to the Lord.

Keeping covenants brings joy.  The reverse is also true:  breaking covenants brings misery, not only to the person who is doing the breaking but to his or her family.  A case in point:  several years ago, the wife of our oldest son left her husband, her children, the church, breaking sacred covenants made in the temple.  The heartache caused was immense, with repercussions that still ripple through their lives.

Joy for the day:  cleaving unto covenants.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 19, January 19

'The most wasted of all days is the one during which you did not laugh!'

I don't have the attribution for this quote, but I so delighted in it that I decided to use it anyway.  A couple of Sundays ago at church, I looked around the congregation and thought of how fortunate I was to have so many good friends.  At the same time, I pondered that those people I considered my BFFs were those who made me smile, who made me laugh.

I hope they feel the same about me.

Life is a serious business.  I can't argue with that.  Yucky stuff happens.  Sickness, financial setbacks, problems with family.  What gets me through, aside from the obvious of faith, family, and friends, is laughter. No, I don't laugh at heartache, but I do try to laugh at life's absurdities and goofiness.  I laugh when I receive back in the mail a letter I sent out to a friend with my own address.  I laugh when I notice that I've put my blouse on inside out.  I even laugh over the country's inept politicians, because if I didn't, I would surely cry.

Joy for the day:  finding laughter in life.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day 18, January 18

In my home is a plaque that reads "The purpose of life is a life of purpose."

It's a good reminder for me as I struggle to find my purpose in life now that my children are grown with lives of their own.  They don't need me as they once did.  Occasionally they might need something from me, but, for the most part, they are self-sufficient.  And that's the way it's supposed to be.

But I was still left, wondering what my role or purpose in life is now.  What does a woman who had been a full time, hands-on mother for more than 30 years do?

Then I looked around and saw others who need me.  Not in the same ways my children do, but in other ways.  One friend needed a listening ear.  Another needed to grieve over the loss of her husband.  Still another needed encouragement as she recovered from a broken hip.

And I found my purpose.  I can listen, I can grieve, I can encourage.

Joy for today:  finding my purpose.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Day 17, January 17

Last week, our bishop bore his testimony.  In his remarks, he talked about being grateful for his struggles and how they have blessed his life.  We know that we are suppposed to take joy in our struggles, but I "struggle" to do so.

I struggle to find joy in physical ailments.  More, I struggle to find joy in watching loved ones go through hard times.  Each time my sister cries, I cry.  Each time a child or friend cries, I cry.  How can I find joy in that?

The bishop explained that when he was twelve-years-old, he suffered from a disease that left his knee weak. Over the years, it has further deterioriated.  Yet he has been able to go on, to appreciate his doctor's counsel that he should maintain a healthy weight, because extra weight would only aggravate his knee further.  What a wise man, to heed the counsel, and, at the same time, be grateful for his struggles.  (Maybe that's why he's bishop.)

Joy for the day:  (trying to) find joy in struggles.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 16, January 16

Upon learning that of my theme "Joy in the Journey" for 2014's blog, a dear friend, Jim Franckum, wrote the following:

"A few years ago I discovered a brand new way to look at words we commonly use to describe intangible concepts like joy, faith, love, hope, etc. My discovery was that these words really had no precise meaning because they were just new words that "someone made up" when a traditional word was inadequate! For example, we sometimes discuss in Sunday School a question like, "what is faith," as if we can uncover the one specific and correct definition. It could be so, but I find it interesting instead to wonder more about what previously unfelt experiences someone might have had that required them to invent a word like "faith?" Even so, we seem to communicate pretty well in spite of using phrases like "I have faith" assuming others interpret that with the same precision as if we say "I have bloody nose."

"Regarding joy, I imagine ages ago in every culture people had discussions where they said, "Wow, I feel really good right now but that's not a proper description ... And I'm feeling more than just happy ... We need a new word ... let's call it - JOY!" And so they did. And I've felt it many times myself, usually with family or observing nature. And there was one very fleeting instant in my life several years ago where for 1-2 seconds I felt extreme super super (keep adding "supers") joy .... But I haven't discovered or made up the right word for that unique sensation yet!"

Joy for the day:  the wisdom of a friend.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 15, January 15

Today is my dear friend Janet's birthday.  Janet and I have been friends for 37 years.  We have seen each other through babies, our children's ups and downs, the deaths of parents, and other events.  I have two other sweet friends with birthdays this month as well, Jeannie and Laurie.  Our total years of friendship between the four of us is well over 80.

Isn't that wonderful?  Really, it's quite amazing that these women have put up with me for that many years.  I have made some bloopers in friendship, saying insensitive things, doing equally insensitive things.  Yet they still love me and forgive me.  (I hope.)

I repeat:  Isn't that wonderful?

And that brings me to another Friend.  He has put up with me, has loved me, has forgiven me for many more years.  Of course, He is the Savior.

Joy for the day:  friendship and friends who put up with, who love, who forgive.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 14, January 14

As so frequently happens, it appears that I'm not finished with the previous day's subject.

What is a treat for you?  How often do you indulge in it?  Do you find, as I do, that it gives a lift to your day?  If it doesn't, chances are it's not a real treat.

Treats shouldn't cost a lot of money.  Nor should they take so much time or effort that they become prohibitive.  One of my treats is to spend a few minutes reading greeting cards at the grocery store.  Because  I love to laugh, I go for the humorous ones.  I find myself chuckling over the clever twists on words and accompanying illustrations.

For some, window shopping can be a treat.  This is not a shopping trip, at least not in the traditional sense.  It is a shopping trip for the eyes and the mind.

For some, a fancy drink at a coffee shop is a treat.  (Hint:  if this becomes an everyday thing, it loses its treat status and becomes routine.)

Experiment with different treats.  See what works for you.  Treats in themselves do not equal joy; rather, it is the anticipation and the wait that leads to joy.

Joy for the day:  anticipating treats.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 13, January 13

I believe in treats.  Treats for my children.  Treats for my grandchildren.  And, sometimes, treats even for me.        I was brought up by parents who believed in hard work followed by more hard work.  My sister and I were expected to study hard and to do well in school, but there were the occasional treats that brightened our days.

As a young mother, I carried on that tradition with treats such as a small toy from garage sales or a pastry from the thrift bakery.  (We were on a strict budget, after all.)  The children loved the toys and loved the pastries even more.  So did I.

These days, I try not to indulge in pastry treats, at least not too often, so I look for different kinds of treats. One of my favorites is, no surprise here, a book.  Reading is my passport to the world.  Other treats include talking on the phone with my sister for an hour, drinking my preferred flavored water (no calories), and going to lunch with a friend.

Sometimes we adults feel that we should not treat ourselves.  We tell ourselves that we should save our
money and time and energy for others. That's great.  But we shouldn't deny ourselves of the occasional treat.

Joy for the day:  indulging in a treat, whatever it is.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 12, January 12

Yesterday I wrote about cleaning the garage.  We actually didn't clean the entire garage.  We cleaned a portion of it.

"Well, it's not perfect," I said to my husband, "but it's better than it was."

"Maybe that's the way it is with us," he replied.  "We're not perfect, but we're better than we were."

It was a trivial conversation, but his words remained with me.  No, I'm not perfect (far from it).  But I'm better (I hope) than I was.   I have more compassion than I once had.  I have more understanding of my frailities and weaknesses and, with that understanding, more patience with those frailities and weaknesses of others.

Joy for the day:  being better than I was.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Day 11, January 11

Last week, Larry and I decided to celebrate the new year by cleaning out the garage.  As we put items into the trash or in a pile to be donated to a thrift store, I wondered why we hadn't done so before.  Without its clutter of things we didn't use, didn't need, and didn't want, the garage was far more functional than it had been.  We could actually get out of the car without fear of bumping into something!

Judging from the number of home and family magazines that feature articles on conquering clutter, controlling clutter, and doing away with clutter, we are not alone.  Clutter happens to the best of us.  It creeps upon us with quiet insidiousness.  I have a number of areas in the house that collect clutter:  the garage, obviously, the kitchen counter, a guest bedroom where I put things "just for now."

Clutter zaps energy, stifles creativity, and just makes us feel generally yucky all over.  Yet getting rid of it is hard work, both physically and emotionally.  We wonder if we should toss that old lamp that doesn't work.  What if we were to need it some day?  After all, it could be fixed.  We agonize over throwing away that gardening tool even though we haven't gardened in years (make that decades).  And so it goes.

The irony is that when we do bring ourselves to get rid of the things that no longer suit our lifestyle, we feel so much better.

Joy for today:  ridding ourselves of clutter.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 10, January 10

Are you scratching your head over the foolishness of yesterday's post?  I can see you now, wondering if you should continue reading the ramblings of a woman who rhapodises over a hot pink bra.

If you feel that I was irreverent, you're right.  I am irreverent sometimes.  I am irreverent over the silly things in life because I need laughter in my life, just as I need the sunshine.  Life presents us with enough problems and heartaches that sometimes we must deliberately search out causes for smiles and laughter.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, found joy in the journey with an irrepressible sense of humor.  Gently, he poked fun at himself and the absurdities of life while never forgetting his charge to lead the Church with righteousness.  

Joy for the day:  laughter over the absurdities of life.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Day 9, January 9

We've gotten sort of heavy in the last couple days' postings.  Lest you think that I am always serious and somber, we're going to switch topics for today.  No doubt, we'll be returning to these heavier subject in the future, but, for today, let's smile.

We're going to talk about underwear.  Yes, you heard me right, underwear.  Specifically a hot pink bra.  My underwear is white.  Sometimes, however, I long for a bit of color, a bit of whimsy.  Hence, the hot pink bra.
Who would ever suspect that beneath this serious and staid exterior of this Mormon wife, mother, and grandmother lies a hot pink bra?

No, this bra in itself does not bring me joy.  But it does make me smile.  And smiling is a precursor to joy.  Without smiles, without laughter, how drab our world would be.  Smiles and laughter are God's coloring book for our faces.  In those same smiles and laughter, we see the colors of an individual's heart and soul.

Joy for the day:  smiling over a hot pink bra.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Day 8, January 8

... continuing yesterday's post.

"The joy that came into the world at the birth of the Savior transforms the circumstances of daily life; they do not have the power to make us happy or despondent, for we know what true happiness is.  The joy comes only through the mercy of the Holy Messiah, whose ressurrection broke the bonds of death and whose atonement unlocks the reservoir of mercy by which we can be cleansed of our sins and come into the presence of God to receive the fullness of the Father.

"Our Savior's mercy is the only source of the ultimate and eternal joy, which restores every loss, dries every tear, and eases every pain.  Eternal joy transcends all suffering."

The Christmas sesason is past, but the celebration of Christ's birth remains ... or should.  And with that celebration comes gratitude for His atonement.

(As I re-read a posting from a few days ago, I realize that I have repeated much of it in this one.  What can I say?  It appears that the Atonement is much on my mind.)

Joy for the day:  appreciating the atonement of Christ.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Day 7, January 7

As I reflected upon this year's theme, "Joy in the Journey," it occurred to me that, with a few edits, it could read "Journey into Joy."

The writer in me liked this new juxtaposition of words.  I liked the idea that we are taking deliberate steps with our ultimate destination, joy.

To understand joy, we must also understand misery.  I've borrowed the following from the writings of an apostle of God.  "We know that the earth was created as a way for us to progresss during our second estate (life on this earth) when we left our heavenly home.  Our Father in Heaven is a just God who created a way for us to overcome the Fall, which took place after man was created.  And our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, agreed to be born in the meridian of time as the only begotten Son of God, the Eternal Father, to redeem us from the effets of that fall.  We were there and supported this plan.

"We also know that Satan, who was separated from God and permanently lost, would like to also see our separation become permanent.  ... Satan's purpose is to make men miserable, and I submit that if not miseraable, then to be content with being merely happy.  Satan is wily.  He has blurred the lines between happiness and joy.  He has falsified happiness to appear as something other than true joy in many ways."

What profound words.  And what a responsibility on our part, to distinguish between being "merely happy" and experiencing true joy.

Joy for the day:  a glimpse of the Father's plan for me, for all of us.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Day 6, January 6

Our ward (congregation) is an older one, made up primarily of empty-nesters.  Recently, a few younger families have moved into the ward, bringing with them babies and toddlers.  Yesterday at church, we heard from some of these babies.

Coos, gurgles,and  the occasional squeal provided a counterpoint to the sacred music and the voices of those bearing their testimonies.  It was wonderful, for I love the sounds of these youngest of God's children.

I wondered why I should so delight in these sounds and speculated if it could be that these innocent spirits have so recently come from heaven where they lived with the Father and bring with them His spirit. Could it be that their seemingly incoherent burbles and cries are their language in telling us of the place where they had resided up until their birth?  Are they trying to tell us of the Father and of His Son?  And we, sophisticated adults that we are, fail to comprehend this special language?

It's something to ponder.

Joy for the day:  the sounds of babies, the utterances of angels.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Day 5, January 5

Yesterday I wrote about finding salvation in God.  Salvation is not the same as safety, though the words have much in common.

Four months ago, a horrendous storm hit our area, turning roads and fields into great streams and lakes.  Thousands of people were left homeless.  We were counseled to do as we had been counseled many times before:  prepare beforehand, have a "to-go" bag packed in the event we had to leave our homes on a moment's notice.

I even started that preparation, taking a large backpack and filling it with emergency items, such as dehyrdated foods, toiletries, small utensils and tools.  It caused me to wonder what I should fill my spiritual to-go bag with.  Those items were less tangible but equally as important:  faith, belief, strength, gratitude, knowledge of the Atonement, acceptance of my own limitations.

Joy for the day:  to-go bags, both temporal and spiritiual.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day 4, January 4

"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is my salvation.  Therefore with Joy shall he draw water out of the wells of salvation."--Isaiah 12: 2 and 3

I have a confession to make:  Isaiah is not one of my favorite writers in the Bible.  His words are frequently high above my limited understanding.  When someone in church quotes Isaiah, I often tune out.  (And isn't that a sad commentary?)

But these particular scriptures resonate within me, perhaps because I am more consciously searching for ideas about and understanding of joy.  If God truly is my salvation, then I need not fear.  Though the world appears to be crumbling around us, I can remain safe in my belief in God.

Joy for the day:  acceptance that God is my salvation.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 3, January 3

When I ponder the true meaning of joy, I turn to the Savior, for He is the Source of all joy.  His atonement makes joy possible.  We cannot possibly comprehend the vastness of the Atonement; nearly equally impossible to comprehend is the indvidual-ness of that same Atonement.

The Atonement is for everyone.  Wonderful.  But what does it mean to you, just you?  Does it mean that you will never have a problem or know sadness or shed a tear?  No.

What it does mean is that that the Savior is aware of every problem, every sadness, every tear you have shed and that His succor is there for you.  You are known to Him, just as your children are known to you.

Joy for the day:  the Atonement of Christ.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Day 2, January 2

Yesterday I touched on the differences between happiness and joy.  We sometimes think of them as synonymous, yet they are distinct in important ways.

J.P. Miller, a popular Christian author during the 19th Century, penned the following:

"Joy is deeper than happiness.  Happienss is the fruit of propserous conditions.  It is the outcome of fortuitous circumstances.  Joy is independent of circumstances.

"Happiness laughs when the sun shines--but grows sad when the glouds gather.  Joy sings on in all weathers and all experiences."

Joy for the day:  a song in my heart even when the sun fails to appear.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Day 1, January 1

I had a deja vu sensation when I typed "Day 1, January 1."  It took me back to three years ago when I started this project.   The last three years have been a  journey of sorts.  And that's what we're going to talk about this year:  a journey, specifically, "Joy in the Journey."

You'll find that the subject matter hasn't changed much.  For, as I wrote previously, joy and gratitude are often symbiotic.  I have joy in my family, in my friends, in my faith, and in whatever purpose I am currently pursuing.

I could not help but reflect on the difference between joy and happiness a week ago as Larry and I spent Christmas morning with our daughter's family and watched as her children (and we older children) opened mounds of presents.  There was happiness, certainly.  But happiness doesn't not always equal joy.  The joy came when we saw the pleasure in our grandchidlren's eyes as they opened a particuarly longed-for gift.

I hope you'll join me this year as we explore the sources of joy.  I invite you to chime in with what brings you joy ... and what doesn't.

Joy for the day:  the start of a new journey.