Day 28 – Joyful, Joyful!

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Joyful, Joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee!

Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living,
Ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother -
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine!

TakeJoyButton2013Take Joy!
on this First Sunday of Advent!

And don’t forget to sign up for the Giveaway!!!

Day 26 – Give From Your Heart… and A Joyful Giveaway!

Thought you might like this classic by O. Henry…

The Gift of the Magi

Giving that comes straight from the heart,
with no thought of what you’ll get in return.

Isn’t that where our hearts should be?

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart,
not reluctantly, or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

As October’s *ahem* 31Days project is stretching out toward Thanksgiving and Christmas, the time of the year when we think most about giving and hospitality, I’m praying that the “giving from the heart” principle will firmly plant itself in mine. I think it will make a huge difference in planning and shopping for the holidays. When we forget self, and think only of others, it really changes our perspective. What a great way to Take Joy!

And in the spirit of giving…

A Take Joy! Giveaway!

To make the button for the Take Joy! series, I actually did a
papercutting for the base artwork, and added the words in PhotoShop.

We just finished framing it…

Giveaway

… And we think it needs to go to one of your homes!

Post a comment on this post to be included in the Giveaway!

We’ll do a drawing from all the names, and the winner
will be announced on Day 31 of the Take Joy! series!

You’ll have to pay attention, because I’m not sure of the actual date of that post!

:-D

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Day 25 – Share What You Have…

Well.

I vote we move the 31 Days Project to mid-Winter.

When nothing else is happening, and there’s plenty of time to blog.

Now… Back to Taking Joy!

One of the best ways to spread Joy! to those around us is to share what we have with others. When we hold onto things tightly, and hoard them away for ourselves, we can start to resemble a toddler declaring “Mine!” when it comes to sharing their toys. Sharing is much more fun than fighting over stuff. Most of us have more than we need, anyway. This time of year, as we move into the Holiday season,  is an especially good time to think about sharing… What do we have that we can share with others? Let’s think practically…

Extra clothes? Things we’ve outgrown?
Do you know someone with kids a bit smaller than yours?

Too many toys? Can we make some room in the toy chest?
It will be overflowing in just a few weeks.

An excess of Holiday decorations?
Is there a newly married couple who might be lacking
ornaments for their tree or need a Nativity Set?

A cake, pie, or batch of muffins?
Do the two of us really need to eat all that,
or would our neighbor appreciate a surprise?

A too-big pot of soup you made and now you wonder
if you thought you were cooking for an army?
Could you freeze it in meal-size portions for
an elderly shut-in at church?

A free afternoon? Is there a young mom that
might appreciate the chance to grocery shop alone?

Your secret chocolate stash?
Would your teen-ager feel extra special if you
pulled a Hershey bar out of nowhere during a
soul-baring after-school conversation?

Or your Hubby after a long day at work?

When we start thinking about what we can give away instead of what we can gather for ourselves, our perspective on Joy! really takes on a new shape. Our thoughts on what is “enough” really begin to change… allowing us to give away more. And there is so much more Joy! in giving than in receiving!

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Day 24 – As Simple as a Smile

Giving away some Joy! can be as simple as a smile.

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In seventh grade, my new friend Rosie and I had an idea. I can’t remember if it came from the suggestion of a teacher or from something we read, but somehow our twelve year-old minds got the idea to try an experiment in the halls of our middle school. Which, by the way, was a rather intimidating place. We two were the shortest kids in our class. (We’re still shorter than the average 7th grader!) We had just come to this new school from our familiar and cozy elementary schools. We both had a case of shyness around new people and in new situations. And there were big kids… NINTH GRADERS. Nobody made eye contact, but just pushed and shoved their way to their next class. We felt like we were swept along in a rip current when we stepped into those halls.

So we concocted a plan.

We would try smiling at anyone that looked us in the eye.

And maybe even say “Hi.”

And you know what? We saw that smiling and saying hello did make a difference! No, the between-class traffic jams didn’t get much better. But over time, as we smiled at anyone that was paying attention, we began to see some of them smile back. Sometimes they smiled at us first. And if we met them in an empty hall, we’d say “Hi,” and they’d say “Hi,” even if we didn’t know each other.

It was cool.

And it still works, even in real life.

In the long line at the post office.

With the crying toddler at the grocery store.

And with his exhausted mom.

Giving away a smile can help someone else
Take Joy!

SmileBy KateClick on the picture above to see
more of our daughter Kate’s artwork!

It only takes a spark to get a fire going
and soon all those around will warm up in its glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s love,
once you’ve experienced it.
You spread the love to everyone,
You want to pass it on.

Day 23 – Giving Joy!

Giving is a Happiness

I know someone who visits friends
a basket at her side.
Replete with portions of her heart,
a joy her hands provide.
She’ll bring a freshly minted tea,
perhaps a book or two,
and jam she made a summer day,
a daffodil she grew.
For giving is a happiness
that spreads from just a start
By someone with a basketful
of treasures from the heart.

~Virginia Covey Boshell~

Our next thoughts on how to Take Joy!
will be about sharing Joy! with those around us!

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Day 22 – Simple Joys!

Sometimes it’s the little things.

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Tea and cookies.

A hot bubble bath.

A shiny sink and just-mopped floor.

A quiet few minutes before the kids
coming tumbling down the stairs.

A walk on the beach.

Beach

A good book.

A Jane Austen or Charles Dickens movie marathon.

A “just because” note in the mailbox.

A steaming loaf of homemade bread with butter.

Brand new crayons.

Chocolate.

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What sorts of little things help you to Take Joy! each day?

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The art of being happy lies in the power of
extracting happiness from common things.
~Henry Ward Beecher~

Day 21 – Take Joy in Work!

The LORD God took the man and put him
in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Genesis 2:15

Did you know that work is a good thing?

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When The Lord created Adam, He gave him a job to do… The task of tending a beautiful garden. It was a satisfying occupation… A gift. Adam’s work was meant to be a joy, but because of disobedience, our work is often hindered with struggles and hardships. Thorns and thistles and sweat of the brow.

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However, it is good to remember that the job, the task, the occupation is still a good thing. Whether we’re a stay-at-home Mom, carpenter, teacher, doctor, or business owner, our work has great importance. Even the quietest occupations can be a blessing to others, as well as to ourselves.

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Take Joy! in the blessing of work!

(P.S. This post stemmed from a little
talk I had to have with myself today!)

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She seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands.
~Proverbs 31:13~

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Day 19 – Take Joy in Rest!

Rest

Sabbath

Margin

White Space

When I was young, nothing was open on Sunday, except the little service station around the corner…just in case you ran out of gas, milk, or bread. Really. Milk and bread were pretty much the only groceries that Mr. Fuzzy (His real name as far as I can remember) carried.  I can remember when the first convenience store opened, and the controversy/excitement of having a store that would be open until 11 at night, and on Sunday. I was in sixth grade, and the world was changing.

Fast forward to 2013. Sixth grade is a long-distance memory… even for my children! :-D We now live in a 24/7 world.  You can do just about anything you want on Sunday except mail a letter. Everything in life rolls on, sort of like a madly spinning hamster wheel, and it can be a little scary to jump off when that thing is turning so fast!

But there is Joy! to be found in rest.

Rest wasn’t created as a punishment,
a giant set of rules to follow,
or for us to not be allowed to do fun stuff.

It was created so we could have a break from work.

A Holy Day… A Holiday

Begin now to incorporate some “down time” into your week.

Worship

Enjoy

Fellowship

Take a nap, if you like.

Take Joy! in resting!

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