Pure Joy …

2016-12-28-19-48-07   Is there such a thing as P U R E   J O Y  ? 

Look at that perfect rose .. It wasn’t made by human hands ..

I think the saying to ‘take time to stop and smell the roses’ is darn good advice !

The word Joy conjures up a lot of thoughts and mixed emotions for me.

The joy of watching my grandchildren line up for a turn on a HUGE waterslide (pronounced ‘HOOOOOOOOGE’ by Miss 5 ) ..

The smiles on their faces as they get to hang out with their cousin at a movie under the stars.

The giggles that I shared with a friend recently, over the price increase of an ice cream cone at Macca’s (serious – belly-wobbling , tears – running – down – my cheeks, therapeutic – kind of giggles) !

The liberating joy of being understood AND accepted for just being you ..

The joy and building anticipation, of an impending holiday.

A ticket to a movie or show.

Joy amongst the pain and sadness in life – is such a blessing.

How do you find joy ?

What makes you smile ?

STOP .. NOW .. Just do it – I promise the investment in yourself will have lasting benefit.

Finding the good things that bring happiness into our world are so important. It doesn’t have to be a grand and expensive option – it may be as simple as stopping the housework to soak in the pleasure of a coffee with a friend . Reading a chapter of a book . Stopping to admire some scenery on your way home on your daily work commute.

Going for a walk – or watching the kids play …

I don’t know about you, but I can so easily – get caught up with work – or the things that need to be done . Just stopping for Ten minutes can be a reboot !

Definitely worth the effort .. The other stuff will still be there when you finish 🙂

‘Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.’

Psalm 86:4 New International Version (NIV)

 

 

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Morninngggg !

Some days  …

You just wake up and have the comfort of realising just how much you are loved by God …

Today  .. Is one of those days ..

I awoke to a beautiful message. Including some precious photos that I’d never seen before .

Wow … what a beautiful start to my day …

The kindness of the person who had sent them – truly made my day .. and I hadn’t even got out of bed yet ☺

To know that God puts people in our lives – who touch our hearts with such generosity of spirit is a blessing.

A surprise card .. or a phone call.
A text message. A spontaneous coffee catch up.

These acts of thoughtfulness are a reminder of the fact that we aren’t doing life alone.

I love that !

It also makes me want to reach out to others.
To notice that they are hurting .. or lonely .. or that they might need a friendly, listening ear.

These last few months, life has been really tough.

I lost my beautiful friend.

No words can possibly describe how her death has affected me.
Grief deeper than I’ve ever experienced. Or ever thought possible.

It has brought changes and decision making. Appreciation of people and of my surroundings.
It has left me feeling let down, uncared for. People have surprised and shocked me.

I realise that this roller coaster of emotion is due to the fact that my friend knew how to be a friend. Knowing her has made me a better friend to others.

Her legacy lives on …

So .. I say .. hug a friend today ..

Arrange that coffee date.

Send the text.

Write that card.

Don’t hold back .

It could be just what the Doctor ordered !

For them and for you 🙂

It even says so in Proverbs 25:11

‘ A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed ‘

Rainy Day Thoughts …

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OK … so the picture above is definitely NOT a rainy day ….

it was taken several weeks ago in the beautiful city of Sydney .. while sipping cocktails with friends. Amazing !

But I shall set the scene and explain the rainy day reference.

At this very moment, I am tucked up in my bed .. listening to the rain as it falls softly on the tin roof of my patio. The only noise registering above the rain – is the snoring of one of my dogs – as she blissfully enjoys the fact that it’s my day off, so she is privileged to be able to be inside with me 🙂
I have coffee .. and a candle burning *insert soft glow and beautiful fragrance here*
On my breakfast menu is yummy toast with apricot jam and cheese (may not appeal to all .. but I think it’s delicious).
Along with the rain – is just the right amount of wind to make the gum branches sway, and their soft,  green leaves rustle ….

If this alone was how I lived my life every day .. it sounds peaceful .. heavenly and most definitely a blessing. And it is …

But .. as you can probably imagine – I am a real person – with struggles,  just like the rest of humanity.

This past week has had trouble and strife – work related conflict – drudgery … beautiful catch ups,  a three year olds Birthday Party (loud, crazy fun with family) …

Now – I am guessing that this view of life is probably a similar theme for most of us?

Sometimes it’s difficult to reconcile the polar extremes that make up our lives. I am learning that God wants me to be thankful in all situations and at all times. I have found some excellent tools for growth and encouragement in several blogger / authors words.
In particular Ann Voskamp and Bonnie Gray .. neither of them have the perfect life and yet they shine thankfulness .. and exude encouragement ..
They most certainly ‘keep it real’ .. as does Nina Roesner .. another beautiful Christian author who makes no secret of her struggles, but lives and loves – as only someone who knows Jesus can ..

I take heart as I read of how these women respond to life’s challenges and share what they learn. I love their bravery .. their courage .. their thankfulness.

I am also greatly inspired by the women that God has placed directly in my life. They may not have written a book .. but I love to ‘follow them, as they follow Jesus’ as one friend puts it …

Sometimes it’s as simple as seeing a friend place one foot of T R U S T after the other .. in spite of circumstance .. that shines the brightest spark.

In my own moments of doubt .. I don’t see that God can make any use of my sinful life ..

I was reminded yesterday though, of the people we see as great heroes of the Bible .. also not being perfect … Abraham, David, Paul .. even Noah ..

So ….  In light of this … I shall endeavour not to be so hard on myself ..

A verse of encouragement … from Psalm 56:3,4 NLT

‘But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.  I praise God for what he has promised.  I trust in God,  so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?’

One Year on …

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Hammin ‘ it up ..

Ok .. so let’s see how I go blogging from my comfy, armchair on the day after Christmas .. (on my mobile phone) no less.

I am in that .. ‘oh-my-goodness-yesterday-was-really-tiring-i-need-to-chill’ state .. (and I didn’t even have to do all the work) 🙂

It’s about one year ago that I wrote my first post .. never thinking that I might even make my second one ..

But .. here I am .. thankful for having the opportunity (and even blessed with a handful of ‘followers’) .

Last year I posted my Christmas ham photo .. today I am even more blessed to have been able to post a picture of the one that my son cooked yesterday.

(It was wayyy better than mine).

The ham signifies more than just something delicious to eat. It is the family getting together .. the celebration of love … of overlooking our differences .. sharing gifts … watching the joy of children having fun.

Making precious memories .. leaving a mark on others lives that shines to them that they are a priority .. they are valued .. loved .. cared about.
Today I am reflecting on the events of yesterday .. loud .. crazy .. fun filled ..

The thought that went into the gifts .. I was blown away by both my daughter in law and sister .. and their gifts meant so much … more than mere words of thanks could express.

We made a decision several years ago to move to where we currently live .. it was a
H U G E decision .. not just one of logistics .. but a head and heart decision .. to leave friends and jobs .. an established life .. a Church that I was very happy to be a part of ..
Without needing all of the details .. this move has been an amazing one on so many levels ..

BUT …. I was afraid when my husband even suggested it ..

The great news is ..

After 18 months in the new home that we were able to build (with a peaceful and picturesque, bushland backdrop) … after two job changes for my husband .. and three for me .. a tough year in a hideous rat infested, mould ridden, rental property ..
We are still pinching ourselves at the changes .. and the blessings ..

I don’t doubt for a second that God’s hand was on our move .. (although it has taken me some time to be able to admit that) ..

I have been able to a keep precious friendship .. YAY !

Other family members have also made the big move as well ..

And  …as we look forward to the beginning of a new year .. I wonder what it will hold?

I am content to trust that God already has it in His plan ..

Knowing that I have seen just how  ….

‘we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good’ Romans 8:28
The Message Bible

EVERY DETAILthe good, the bad and the ugly ….

You gotta have friends …

Well … I am not really sure where to start …
So I guess that I will just jump right in !

I heard a story the other day – from a wife .. married for 50 .. Yes F I F T Y ! Years …

This lady and I engaged in a very brief conversation, but what she said to me has left a lasting impression ..

Our interaction happened in the course of my day at work – during a very basic retail transaction.
I think that she felt ‘safe’ as there were no other customers around to overhear what she must have been bottling up – wanting to share with a stranger.

This lady had been keeping this story inside for 8 looong years.

She and her husband had purchased a lounge together – tried many different types .. sat in them – and decided together that they had found ‘the one’.. that was right for them – BOTH – of – them …

When the couch arrived – it was just what she had anticipated .. and she was very happy with it .. but somehow – between purchase and delivery – his recollection of their choice had somehow changed – and he had insisted that the couch that they now had in their lounge room was Not the one they had ordered ..

So .. as the story of ‘stubbornness’ unfolded … the gentleman in question had refused to even sit on the couch ..
For eight looong years – he had sat on the arm of the chair – next to the couch – or the coffee table – she explained to me ..

BUT NEVER ON THAT COUCH

I tried to absorb her words .. I have mulled them around in my head over the last few days … I have struggled to grapple with the fact that the man in question has sticking power greater than a feisty toddler …

feisty
1. full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky:
“The champion is faced with a feisty challenger.”

2. ill-tempered; pugnacious.

3. troublesome; difficult:
“feisty legal problems.”

Then as my thoughts wandered .. I realised that I – too can be stubborn – and – feisty … and although I may not be able to stay off a lounge chair for eight long years .. I have other things which I hang onto .. like being a ‘right-fighter’.. I am like a dog with a bone … when I know that I am ‘right’.. I want others to know it too ..

Or if I disagree with my husband .. I REALLY want him to know it …

Then .. as my female mind wanders and my thinking process speeds into overdrive … I whirl into the black hole of thoughts – dredging up my own flaws and faults ..

From there – I somehow ended up turning my imperfections into the fact that I am a bad person, bad friend .. don’t deserve any friends, least of all the most precious friend I have ever known … before I know it I am this teary mess … WHAT ?? How did this happen ???

Well – part of my thoughts emanate from truth – the part that makes me realise that although I am a perfectionist in many ways…. I am not perfect

and although I also realise that I may not ‘deserve’ good relationships – thankfully I am very blessed to have them …

Best of all … this whole dramatic scenario – led me to a healthy conversation with my wise and trusted friend ..
Then, in turn – gave me a greater appreciation of what a healthy relationship looks like … and ..
WAIT – THERE’S MORE …
I realise that no relationship is perfect – they are constantly ‘Under Construction’.. no matter how long you’ve been at the building site .. Five years .. or Fifty years … whether it be a Marriage, a friendship, a parent/child or sibling relationship .. It requires integrity.. and courage .. and a renewing of our mind .. our thoughts .. words and actions ..

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV