Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Blog Birthday!

Happy 1st Birthday, Joyful Blog!  I was on vacation during the celebratory landmark and nearly overlooked it.  Truly, I'm amazed a year has passed and that I've stuck with writing, though not every single day as first intended.  If you're a regular reader, thank you for the support and words of encouragement.  Each time I hear from someone, I'm touched that they take the time to read.  If you're new, welcome and thanks for stopping by.  My hope is that each post can bring a blessing to those who read it, as just by sharing it I am blessed.  Opening myself up to recognizing the joy in every day has uplifted my soul and changed my life.

The idea of this blog pulled me from my bed in the middle of the night.  I couldn't go back to sleep until the thoughts were out of my head and on the screen.  Having written on the blog I started in memory of Austin, since the first of 2009, I could feel it coming to a close.  Hours of writing the pages, which poured out of me that year and a half after losing him, filled hundreds of posts.  It was my mission to share his story from beginning to end so that everyone who came upon it would know my son.  It was therapy for me, healing me a bit with each word.  Even though I will never stop telling Austin's story and sharing his legacy, I felt the need to move forward and do more.

But how could I honor his memory and still go on with my life?  It didn't seem right, for laughter or happiness to be where Austin wasn't.  Guilt followed those early glimpses of joy.  And then something - or a special someone from above - tugged at my heart and led me on this path.  Not only would I seek out joy, but I would accept it, gratefully, and share it with others.  This JOY Journey would be my next step on the path of grief and would be how I chose to honor Austin.  After all, he was the first bundle of joy I held in my arms and he filled our lives with joyfulness for 14 years.  He lived every day of his life to the fullest and now it's what I do as well.

That first week I tiptoed cautiously, unsure if I could find enough joy each day to write about.  Surprisingly, many days I had more sources of joy than I could share.  Along the way, I've learned much about myself, become even closer to God, loved deeper and enJOYed life more each day.  I've found and made new friends, who happened upon my blog at just the right post for whatever they were facing that day.  I've drawn strength from the stories, shared by those walking this same journey, whether ahead or behind me on the path.  Through it all, I treasure happy moments, linger in laughter, dance in the rain, and smile in sunshine. 

Is every day perfect?  Absolutely not.  Is there still pain?  With every beat of my heart.  But I've found that facing each morning with faith and closing each day in prayer gets me through.  Having the hope of finding joy in every day has made each a little easier to face.  Knowing that joy will and does come, fills my heart with the warmth of a sunrise in every promise of a new day.

Not followed my blog since the beginning?  You can click back to my first post and see how it all began.  ...Although, I'm more excited to see how it continues!


Liz C. Taylor said...

Congrats on this milestone, Heather! And for reminding us that there is joy all around us.

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