Friday, July 1, 2016

31 days of JOY

July marks the 6th anniversary for this little blog.  Wow!

I can vividly recall being bolted from bed in the middle of the night to begin this journey.  Never would I have imagined, as I began typing then, where it would take me.  Or how much this blog would change me.  Save me, really.

At the time, our family felt void of joy and the thought of writing about it daily was scary.  What if I couldn't find joy every day?

But God told me to search for it and I obeyed.  As always, He delivered.

What I learned is that joy cannot be present without God.  It has very little to do with circumstances and everything to do with attitude.  Which explains how despite the pain I felt in losing my son, I could still search and find joy.  Every day.

In the beginning, I challenged myself to write about it daily.  That simple exercise forever changed me.  Much like the gratitude challenge I do every Thanksgiving, acknowledging each day's blessings can only ever bring good.  Documenting it, in this virtual joy journal, has truly been therapy.  

But as I realized a few days ago, I've slacked in this exercise.  "Life" has gotten in the way so I'm bringing back the challenge to celebrate our 6th year together.

31 days of JOY!

The anticipation for today's joy was great.  I would say that is what kept me up all night, but instead it was a belly ache.  The down side is it caused me to miss my weekly morning Bible study.  The up side is I finished the last season of Gilmore Girls.  Yes, I cried.

Anyhow, I tumbled out of bed much later than planned and somewhat grumpy to start my first joyful day of July.  I'd taken vacation time for an extended weekend and was having a pity party that it might be spent ill.

As I doctored myself with essential oils and settled into the living room, the door knob jingled.

My head went through the possibilities, clearly it was someone I knew (I hoped) since they intended to walk right in without knocking.  There's only a handful of people in our family that do so.  But I had extra security latches on, as hubby was away all week traveling for work.

Ross, our dog, and I both realized who it was at the same time.  Hubby was home early!  We raced each other to the door and fought for hugs.  Knowing I would worry while he drove home from little sleep and lots of overtime, he decided to skip the nap and surprise me.  What a welcome one it was!

As he settled in to catch up on some sleep, Noah finally stirred awake and was ready for our weekly Friday outing.  Though my tummy was still not 100% ready for adventure, we set out anyway.  There's only so many Fridays left in the summer after all.

We opted to include Mom on our trip, since it was her birthday weekend.  And because I knew our location was one she'd never been but always wanted to try.  Noah couldn't believe she'd never experienced a burger from a nearby Dairy Freeze.

"How has she lived this long and not ever had one!" he exclaimed.

He then smiles at thinking how many firsts he's helped her experience this week.  A few days prior he'd taken her out for a Mamaw lunch, with him in the driver's seat.  She didn't know anything of the agenda and was just along for the ride.  They had a really good time together, so he was excited for the fun to continue.

Along the way, I remembered her messaging this week about her worry ring breaking.  A local artist makes them, each one unique, with tiny beads that roll when you touch them.  The idea is that when you find yourself worrying, you can gently roll the beads and say a prayer.  (Kind of like a rosary for your fingers, although we're not Catholic.)  But it brought mom comfort so I knew we needed to get her another.  As we drove to pick her up, we devised a plan.

Arriving at the burger joint, mom is distracted by the menu options and picking on me for wearing a holey tshirt.  It's my longest living shirt, well over 20 years old, and has become quite thread-bare.  I wear it as a PJ top and didn't think about having it on, because initially I'd had no plans of getting out of the car.  But with the weather nice and mom along for the meal, we'd opted to eat outside at their picnic spot.  The friendly bickering was enough for me to pass off her gift to Noah for the presentation.

As he brings our burgers and shakes, mom spies the ring attached to her straw.  I wish that we'd taken a photo of her expression because it was priceless.  She was speechless, touched and tickled.  It's one milkshake she'll always remember.  And an impromptu birthday excursion that brought me a lot of joy sharing it with her.


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