Showing posts with label joy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label joy. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Camping We Will Go

We spent this past weekend camping atop a breathtaking mountain. We enjoyed coffee in the morning and  in the afternoon, what a treat. Mornings were cold and afternoons were cool and breezy.

I cannot tell you how much I'm enjoying camping, I'm positively giddy every time we head out. I'm kicking myself for not realizing the value of camping way sooner. In a world that overloads our senses daily, blurs the importance of relationships, we must make unplugging a priority. 

We have two teen daughters that are not nearly as on board with the whole experience as I'd like, but I know without any doubts, that being unplugged,  and being reminded of the simple joys and pleasures is the best we can give our children. Being surrounded by nature, connecting with family, being aware of the real,  that's what it's all about. I only wish that we would have started camping years ago. 

I looked out the window of the camper Saturday evening, and saw my husband and Matthew huddled around the campfire talking and laughing, and I was overcome with joy and a sense of contentment. That's the beauty of camping, it's filled with so many little moments of restoration. Living in this fallen world takes so much from us, camping refills the soul.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Seeking Joy

Joy.        Are you living a joy-filled life? You know, the kind of joy that you have inside of you that illuminates you, that others can't help but notice, the kind of joy that you have because God abides in you, dwells within you.  

Last Saturday, we were all in the car on the way home from a mountain hike. We were winding through a mountain road filled with farmland and little old houses. We passed one after another. As we rounded a curve we came upon a house with a rather large front yard. The grass was unusually tall and right dab smack in the middle of the yard amongst the tall grass was an old lady pushing a lawnmower. Her shoulder length silver hair was blowing wildly in the breeze. Her wrinkled little face looked up from her task and her eyes locked onto us as we were passing. She looked right at us and threw up her hand in the air with a big ole wave and a grin from ear to ear lit up her face. She looked as though she knew us and was expecting our passing, she greeted us like a homecoming. There she was, easily ninety something, pushing an old lawnmower, and not one of those fancy self-propelled ones, but an old fashioned lawnmower that's a dickens for anyone half her age to push through tall grass. I thought of all the things I might be feeling if I were her, why hadn't one of my children cared enough to cut my lawn with me old and all, why would God forsake me and leave me all alone and without anyone to care for me, my head filled with tons of negative thoughts. She was thinking none of those thoughts that were swirling around in my head. She was filled with a joy that lit her up like a Christmas tree. The Lord abides in her heart and she knows joy

It was all I could do not to ask my husband to turn the car around and go back. I wanted to be in her presence. I wanted to understand that kind of joy. I wanted to sit on her porch and listen to her story.

I believe that Jesus shows up in people all the time. I believe He was in that white haired little lady on that mountain road last Saturday. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Reclaiming Myself

Two years ago I ran a local 5K. I had spent a year and a half prior to that learning how to eat properly and exercise. I declared war on our pantry and cleared out all the processed and refined foods and baking ingredients and replaced every item with it's clean counterpart. Back then, it was much harder to find whole or organic foods in our area, so I found myself making many items from scratch. That equaled an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen, but, I was determined and I quickly learned how to make salad dressings, ketchup, granola, crackers, cookies and tons of other necessities, all with clean and organic ingredients. I lost weight by eating God-given foods and exercising, I lost twenty five pounds over time, and kept it off, all the while enjoying delicious foods and baked goods. I discovered that I could even enjoy homemade breads and sweets without gaining a pound as long as I made these items with organic, unprocessed ingredients and kept to a regular plan of exercising. My body was in a good place.

So what happened? Why did I gradually stop buying whole foods and exercising? Life. You know, it gets busy sometimes and we become unbalanced and one weak moment at the grocery turned into two, until one day I realized that my cart was full of the very foods that I'd admonished from our home not so long before. I know that my weakness is food, coupled with a sometimes lazy tendency, which over time resulted in the wrong foods creeping back into our kitchen. The lure of aisle after aisle of processed foods at the store that promise goodness and preparation at lightening speed, became so enticing that I took the bait. Are you seeing Eve in the Garden of Eden contemplating taking a bite of that apple, yeah, me too. 

Food is the key to our health, it's so simple really, what we put in our bodies determines how we look and feel. I've always been convinced that how I treated my past weight loss is the reason it didn't last. At first, I was all thank you God and without you God I couldn't have accomplished all this, then that gradually morphed into something else entirely. As people began noticing that I not only looked better but that I had a new found confidence and energy to go along with my new look, they would compliment my efforts, a lot.   It didn't take too long before those compliments went to my head and I started to feel very proud  of myself. I was a peacock fluffing my feathers for anyone that would take notice. I became an attention hog living from one, you look great to the next how did you lose all that weight. Rather than answering, God was my co-pilot, I would start into a listing of my prowess at the grocery and how long and far I could run. I began to carry my weight loss around like a medal that I  had achieved, just me, all on my own, and the thank you God's, began to all but disappear. 

I truly believe that God was saddened at how I handled the gift he had given me. He was saddened and disappointed at how I wasted my testimony. For this reason, I know in my heart that my weight crept back up and I stopped exercising all together. There is always a price to pay for sin, always.

But this is my favorite part of the story, I'm still here, God's still there, and I've learned from my mistake. My pantry is all clean, again, I'm exercising, again, becoming a runner, again, eating God-given foods, again. I love that little word, again.  That little word means hope, that little word means grace, that little word means that God is there and cheering me on as I pull myself back up by my bootstraps and start fresh, that little word is helping me to reclaim myself

Saturday, March 28, 2015

And The Fog Rolls Out

As it always happens, I finally had a little breakthrough and my depression fog lifted slightly. Our girls were at a local arts class they attend weekly and it was just Matthew and I. I must confess, after dropping off the girls, I really didn't want to go back home. It's seriously been a mess around here for awhile and even with the hubby and kids pitching in tons, it still needed a mama's love. We've been kind of stalled lately, dang depression. So I began to talk to myself inside my head and I said, 'it's time to put your big girl panties on and go straight home and do some cleaning......... you can do this'. You give yourself pep talks inside your head too, right???? So I did. I drove home and looked around........ oh boy, where in the world to start, everything has been so neglected for so long. I decided that I would only tackle the dining room and kitchen area. So much dust everywhere and the stove was a mess, quite overwhelming honestly. Now, here's where the story gets a little weird. I decided to clean the dining table first. The night before it had been ground zero for an art project, picture tons of sand and paint, don't we have a craft room, oh well, I digress. As I cleared off the table and began to scrub the wood, searching for the luster it had just a month before, I began crying, then all out bawling. It had been so long since I had cleaned anything, so long since my hands had touched a cleaning cloth, that it was overwhelming and weirdly cathartic all at the same time. The more I scrubbed the more I cried. 

That was Tuesday, and little by little, each day I conquered another little neglected area until at long last, I'm done. Completely done. So that's how it happens for me, gradually the fog lifts and loosens it's grip on my soul, and life as I knew it slowly returns. 
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
                                                                                                                    Romans 5: 3-5

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