Did you know we were created to be creative?
We were made in the very image of the Creator,
so it only stands to reason that we would have
inherited at least a teeny tiny bit of His creativity.
One of the ways I Take Joy! is to make things. I’ll bet you have some area where you express your creativity too! It might be drawing or painting. Or sewing. Or cooking and baking. Or decorating your home. Or gathering a bouquet of flowers from your yard. Or telling stories to your little ones. Or pulling weeds. Or fixing things. Or making the windows sparkle and shine. We all have some area in which we add beauty and order to our world.
Whatever your area of creativity, I encourage you to encourage it!
It may seem awkward at first,
until you master the basics,
but eventually it will be a way for you to…
It may seem a bit cliché, but having a song in your heart
is a really practical way to remember to Take Joy!
When I’m feeling a bit crabby, it really helps to start singing.
My Take Joy! song is…
This is the day, this is the day,
That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.
I will rejoice, I will rejoice,
And be glad in it, and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord has made.
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, this is the day,
that the Lord has made.
Of course, I don’t save that song just for crabby moments,
but over the years, it has become my “happy” song.
What is YOUR Happy Song?
Do you smile when you see certain phone numbers
pop up on your cell phone or on Caller ID?
There’s a good chance that number might belong to a friend.
We all need people in our lives who bring a smile to our face.
People who affirm us, who lift us up, who encourage us.
People with whom we always feel accepted.
People who stick with us through thick and thin.
People who make us laugh out loud.
Note to Self: Take more photos of friends. The photo albums are severely lacking in that department. Probably because we Moms are always behind the camera. Or maybe because we’re enjoying our visit so much we forget all about the camera! I have so many sweet friends I wanted to include in this post, but couldn’t find good photos of them… So please all know that you are loved! (And so I filled in with some of our girls’ BFF’s!)
Lack of photos or not, the point is that we need friends in our lives to help us Take Joy! We need to bear each other’s burdens, guide each other on the journey, and give each other good counsel. And most of all, we need friends that are positive and encouraging, and that lift us up, just by the thought of them.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand.
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”
One of the most important areas to find Joy! is with your family.
Just think about that. For most of us, many of our most Joy!ful memories are of family events… Birthday parties, Family Vacations, Sunday Dinners at Grandma’s, Movie Nights, Christmas Morning. Beyond the big celebrations, there are smaller moments of Joy!… Taking a long walk, working on a school project, putting a puzzle together on a rainy day, hot cocoa with marshmallows, or just being silly at the dinner table.
Some Family Joy! events are planned.
Some are completely spontaneous.
But however we find Joy! with our family…
…It is needful.
What are your most Joy! filled family memories?
What will you do TODAY to add to that list?
Take Joy! with your family!
For some fun and practical ideas for Family Celebrations…
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a family;
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
What sorts of things make you feel more Joy!ful?
We’ve talked about the Source of Joy! We’ve talked about having a Joy!ful attitude and outlook no matter the situation. Now how about some little ways to encourage Joy! throughout the day?
Sometimes for me, the simplest thing can add a bit of Joy! to my day… A phone call from a sweet friend. Finding a stash of photographs I forgot about. A hot cup of tea and a homemade muffin. A fresh coat of paint. Lavender-scented cleaning supplies. Reading a bedtime story to sleepy Grandboys. The smell of coffee perking on the stovetop. Chocolate.
What brings Joy! to YOUR day?
This week’s Sunday came on Monday!
Another post later today…
One of my favorite types of art is the “Still Life” painting. Still Life became popular as a genre after the Reformation in Northern Europe. The 17th Century artist’s career drastically changed from Church-driven employment to market-driven employment. As Protestant church interiors no longer included elaborately painted murals and ceilings, artists began creating works that would sell to the public, and the art market saw a great increase in landscape paintings, portraits, and still life.
Still life paintings usually involved elaborate paintings of fruits and flowers…
The intention was to show abundance, fruitfulness, and plenty.
I think they are GORGEOUS.
Yes, a drawing of a single fruit can be pretty…
But a whole BOWL-ful?
Now THAT’s something.
Did you know that Joy! also doesn’t stand alone?
When we’re indwelt with the Spirit of God, Joy! has some
companions that greatly improve the composition of our lives,
turning them into a masterpiece designed by our Creator.
For illustration purposes only… definitely NOT a “masterpiece.”
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Against such there is no law.
Photo by Katie Donovan
Attitude is everything. We can look at that pile of dirty dishes with disdain and feel grumpy about the next half hour of life, or we can fill the sink with hot sudsy water and yummy smelling dish soap and scrub away Joy!fully. Just so you know, I tested out this theory early this morning… The last couple of days have been very full, and my kitchen has suffered. Had to wash dishes before I could even make coffee and mix up the frozen OJ. BUT… my Mom had just brought me a fresh bottle of Pink Grapefruit Dish Soap back as a little treat from a recent jaunt, so I decided this was the morning to crack it open. I needed a bit of help in the Joy! department at 6 a.m. with no coffee, and didn’t even wait to finish off my grocery store soap.
We have so many opportunities to be Joy!ful in our everyday, but we miss them because we think of the “everyday” as mundane, drudgery, boring, commonplace, routine, humdrum, or tedious. Can we decide today to get a better attitude? Or better yet, to actually seek Joy! in those everyday moments?
Another aspect of contentment is the idea of “Bloom Where You are Planted.”
Blooming goes beyond simple contentment…
…Blooming is making the best of where you are…
…Adding a bit of your Joy! to your surroundings…
…And letting your situations grow some Joy! in you!
Go not abroad for happiness; for see,
It is a flower that blossoms at thy door.
I love this little stitching that hangs in our home. It’s pretty old, and worn by time. I’m guessing it was worked by a housewife in the 1930′s or 40′s. Maybe she needed a tiny reminder, just like I do some days, to Take Joy! in her humble abode. Was her home a tiny cottage overflowing with children? Or a big rambly house full of sweet memories? Was she struggling to make ends meet or overwhelmed by all that comes with affluence? I wonder if, like me, she was bombarded daily with catalogs and advertisements that created a desire for more, for fancier, for bigger, for better? Was it easier to be content back then than it is now?
Actually, just like us today,
she probably had to make a daily choice
to be satisfied with her lot in life.
And so, her stitching hangs where I can see it daily
and be reminded to be content.
Take Joy! by nurturing a contented heart!
…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.
In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret
of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.