Saturday, February 28, 2015

One of the ways to find joy

A snow concoction made by Jack.
In my last post I wrote about how savoring memories is my pathway to joy.  Then, I read another blogger's post about tracking what she learns each month. She mentioned a tip about how she looks back over her pictures from the month to help her remember what she has learned.

As I read that and thought again about my recent post about Christmas in February (yes, you read that correctly, I was writing about Christmas in February and the post wasn't even inspired by the snow and ice), it occurred to me that this is a very good place for me to start: reflect on the photos from the month. This practice will keep me on the path of gratitude which then leads to joy. 
Sophie & Jack built a snowman.

I need to spend time remembering. I need to remember the fun, the delightful, the special occasion moments, and the ordinary moments.

Many times Scriptures urges us to remember. Isaiah 46:9 says, "Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me."

It is so easy to forget! This makes sense doesn't it? Our lives are full, right? Full to the overflowing cup, aren't they? Usually they are so full that I can't, more like... I don't make the time to remember.

Look! I can help decorate a table!
We run this way and that way. Recently our family has been running this way for a debate tournament and that way for a choir concert. Then while they are practicing I run to the grocery store for food and then to Target to get shampoo and dog food while my husband takes the recycling and works extra hours. Then, we race back to the tournament for the awards ceremony. Then after church on Sunday, we race to the choir concert. Whew! No wonder I am exhausted.

Gifts of love.
K&K Weekend Away
So, it is a given that when we're iced in for a week and all events are cancelled, I collapse. I'm thankful from the break of running around. Thankful to rest. However, when I arise from my sleepy stupor, I see the clutter, the walls that need painting, the light fixtures that need fixing...and many more 'things' that call my name and soon I begin to feel a different kind of exhaustion. This weather-imposed rest exposes how I live. I enjoy the time off but it is not enough time off of the hamster-wheel for me to tackle the clutter and the projects that will make my house more of the home that I would like it to be.

It is in this context of a running this way and that way life that I am finding that it restores my soul to look at my life that has recently flew past me. To stop, pause, and remember. I need to remember, lest I forget just as it says in Deuteronomy 6:11b-12a: "...then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord..."

I've been watching a love of reading burst into full flame with this one this year! As a primary goal of my homeschooling, this brings me such joy and is worth of much noticing!
For me I have found this pondering of photo moments so helpful. Remember it is my path, not all take pictures to remember. I can think of several joyful friends who don't take pictures and don't scrapbook yet they are joyful people. We each need to remember what the Lord has done for us; we are given much latitude in how we do that.

Hosting a friend of a friend at our house. She played games with the kids.

Barking & jumping to catch the tree.
This posting of pictures to highlight joy, thankfulness, and pursuing contentment is a tribute to the many bloggers who do a similar thing. It is not a new idea.

* Ann Voskamp's blog and her book 1,000 gifts. She writes about gratitude and offers many practical ways to make gratitude a practice.

*  The Like Mother, Like Daughter blog hosts { happy, pretty, funny, real }about pursuing contentment. She also has practical posts about managing a household of lots of children.

Our crazy dog can be sweet at times.

Debate partners.
Making cabbage bundles.

Fun taking pictures of the ice.

A closing thought about the pursuit of joy is that joy comes and goes. It comes as a byproduct. Let me close with these thoughts by Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection:Let Go of Who You Think You're Suppose to be and Embrace Who You Are. This is what she says about joy:
Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments--often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we're too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Sometimes we're so afraid of the dark that we don't let ourselves enjoy the light.
A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy.That would eventually become unbearable. 
I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.

Oh, how she glows after she's done singing!

God's gift to us. These couples that represent life to me. We were hand-picked to be together. So many times in my life, I am lamenting the friends with whom I can not be with and miss the beauty of the new friends he has given me in my life. Life moves on. People move to different cities, or across town, or to different churches. The friendships can stay alive but they are not there in your day-to-day life anymore. I am so loyal that this aspect of friendship is hard for me. The bummer is that I allow it the lament to skew my focus and I miss the people he has given me. This photos is from a couple's night on Valentine's Day and what a great time we had. So good to be thankful for those here with me now.

In Nashville, when the snow and ice arrive you must play and picture quickly.

This one is after her mother's heart: taking pictures of the ice!

This post of pictures and thoughts is my attempt at being thankful for these moments that have been strung together gracefully for me in the month of February. One simple way of putting myself into the pathway of joy.
How about you? 

How are you intentional about finding joy?


  1. Kathleen, I'm so glad I 'stopped by' to see what you're up to. It's been a long time. Thank you for sharing these photos--your children are beautiful and those ice photos are stunning. We had a season like that 3 years ago and I LOVED it....iced/snowed in for a week. (I learned how to write a blog and Three Way Light was born.) Hope things are thawing out.

  2. I think much of my joy comes from loving and spending time with family. This week has been filled with family for me. Beginning with my sister's youngest birthday party to road tripping with my mom to TN and on, to getting a weekend with lots of great Jaegers it has been great. I think family means so much to me because for my first 25 years or so I took it for granted. I am amazed that God uses so much imagery about His love for us through the family. I find myself overwhelmed with joy from the relationships that come merely because I have been born into and married into a family. And yet, though I didn't pick them, they are great. They have loves and joys and pains and hopes that spur me to grow and learn and find depth and insight in this world. I hope God continues to bring us together!!

    Grace and peace,

    1. Mari, I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to put us into family together via our in-laws. I am thankful for all the time and energy that you have put into coming to TN and helping to initiate family time (like cousin camp, and ND family reunions) throughout the years and all the wonderful memories we have together -- and not just you & I but all of our families together. It is a gift. I am thankful. And I wasn't very diligent to take pictures while you were here so I would love some pictures of your time. I did get pictures of your youngest but that's about it. But he sure is cute. With much love, your sister-in-law, Kathleen and thanks so much for commenting.

  3. No one else I'd rather be snowed in with... :-)


Thanks for being part of the conversation...I love hearing from you. Kathleen

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