Might have been bad timing….or not?

Can you believe I chose “Joy” as my One Word for 2017?

Joy. Really?

When I picked this word back in January, my crystal ball was evidently malfunctioning. For who in their right mind would choose Joy knowing their husband would be facing brain surgery in a month and a half? How in the world is one to be able to pay attention to Joy in the middle of crisis and chaos?

I had good intentions choosing Joy for my word this year. Yep, those good intentions were to try to see moments of Joy around me. But it’s oh so much easier to notice Joy when life is beautifully smooth, isn’t it?

Joy seems more elusive when we’re weary with one challenge after another. It’s hard to see the Joy in life when we’re up to our eyeballs in worry and anxiety. Choose Joy is a phrase batted around by those trying to offer help for people facing hopelessness, despair and uncertainty. Like “choosing” joy is as easy as choosing which pair of shoes to wear…or choosing what to order for dinner.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:34

Isn’t that the truth.

Back in January, it was so easy to write that Joy doesn’t come from a worry-free, prosperity-filled life. In a more self-reflective moment, I wrote this:

I believe Joy is something felt deep in the soul. Something apart from the temporary warm fuzzies of pleasure and happiness. It’s something intangible that grounds the mind, despite the circumstance. Joy settles deep in the heart and soul, creating peace and a strength that makes a person feel they can endure the worst life will throw.

Very profound if I do say so myself. I just don’t know how well I’m doing in this department while in the middle of these “circumstances,” which are hard and more than little overwhelming at times. Left on my own, I don’t feel anything has settled in my heart except mental exhaustion, much less peace and strength.

But there I go again, confusing Joy with Happiness.

I have discovered my hindsight is working fairly well. In hindsight, I’m thankful for the flu. Yes, you heard correctly. I got the flu the Sunday before we were to leave on vacay. By Thursday, Entrepreneur was showing the first signs of it. A flu headache, coupled with the headache he already was experiencing is was drove us to the ER…and to the discovery of the cancer mass.

As terrifying as this event has been, in hindsight, I see it did provide opportunities to repair some family rifts, and opened up heartfelt conversations that otherwise might not have happened. I suppose there are things to be thankful for in the middle of chaos. Focusing on being grateful can result in experiencing Joy.

So, even though 2017 has not started the way I’d hoped, I am going to try and feel those moments of Joy in the middle of chaos and confusion by focusing on being thankful and grateful.

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One prayer

thanksgiving72If the only prayer you said
in your whole life was,
“thank you,”
that would suffice.
~Meister Eckhart

Carol at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind tagged me to participate in a 3 Quote Challenge. I’m to write and post about a quote that impresses me each day for three days. Then, I’m suppose to tag 3 people to do the same. I am terrible about tagging, but I will do my best to try to pick some people. I see you cowering over there……

Since Kelley and I play Quotography, I used her prompt of Thanksgiving for this first one.

I don’t know about you but my prayers always seem to revolve around a mountain I want God to move so life becomes a bit easier. And, more often than not, that mountain remains, and I’m left with having to navigate around or over it. Do I say thank you for that answer? Rarely.

But, maybe I should.

It’s so easy to be thankful for the things in life that go our way; things we view as benefits…loving family, that promotion at work, the Turkey Day spread of food most of us will have on Thursday, the near miss on the highway. Yes, being thankful for those things come easy for us.

It’s really not in our nature to say thank you for the crap in our lives…the behavior issues with children, the conflict with family members, the job loss and resulting financial hardship. No, we don’t view those as blessings worthy of thanks. They’re just mountains we want moved. And the sooner, the better, thank you very much.

But what if we looked at them with a thankful eye and ask what we’re suppose to learn about ourselves when we’re desperate? Because a person learns an awful lot about themselves in the middle of conflict, strife, chaos and crisis.

What if, instead of asking for that mountain to be moved, we ask for a guide to show us how to get to the top where we can see our surroundings better? Many times when I’ve faced adversity, it’s served to point out a major character flaw…..in myself. While those revelations are often humbling and painful, they are always necessary adjustments needed in order to make me a better person.

And that is always worthy of thankfulness.

So this is Day 1 of the 3 Quote Challenge. I probably will not post for a consecutive three days…just saying’. As for tagging, I’ll throw it out there for Peabea at Peabea’s Patch Photography, Roger at Ramblin’ with Roger, and my Quotography buddy, Kelley at the road goes ever on. I will not be tagging each day, so if you are so moved, please feel free to play along.

Quotography & LTTL: Thankful

quotography-thankful 72

What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday.
~Unknown

What a sobering quote this is, don’t you think? So many of us tend to think of God as nothing more than a cosmic vending machine, dispensing blessings when requested. A Divine Sugar Daddy to keep us happy when we drop strong hints about our latest wants and desires. How often do offer up prayers of thankfulness for what we already have? It’s so easy to go about the days, weeks, months and years not giving it much thought about what life would be like without the people we love and creature comforts we enjoy. It’s like they’re always suppose to be there.

But what if they weren’t?

This is Thanksgiving week in the United States….you know, that little bump in the road on the way to Christmas? Yes, we all learned the “first” Thanksgiving was an event where Colonial Americans and Native Americans shared in a bounty of food and friendship. Elevated to mythical status, the actual reason behind this event can be read HERE. I was most struck by the idea that the Pilgrims’ and Native Americans’ thankfulness was born out of misery and hardship….not out of abundance and plenty.

Thankfulness really knows no season or country. It also doesn’t need to be dependent on social or economic status. Are you a one-percenter? Middle-class? Homeless? Is your life a bed of roses or a daily struggle? Are you a high-powered CEO or desperately looking for a job?

When I put my pity party on pause and really think about this quote, I’m sad to admit I don’t give thanks nearly enough as I should. Because if I woke up tomorrow and didn’t have my husband, children, grandchildren or extended family anymore, the quality of my life would suffer. God has blessed me with relatively good health despite my bad habits. Entrepreneur’s scans for kidney cancer have come back unchanged so far, a blessing of indescribable worth. We are an integral part of our grandchildren’s lives, which I remind myself that many grandparents don’t have the opportunity to develop such a close bond.

Yes, I’m thankful for my creature comforts, but they need to be relegated secondary in priority. I’m thankful I live in a country that, for all practical purposes, values freedom and allows its citizens rights and privileges not offered in many other parts of the world. We do have many faults and shortcomings, but there isn’t another country in which I’d rather live.

And, as a Christian and child of the Living God, I’m most thankful for a loving Savior. I’m thankful God the Son manifested himself in the form of a man, freely sacrificing his life to reconcile me back to my Creator. That’s a blessing I am thankful for every day…even if I don’t say it enough.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. ~Psalm 103:11-13

Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him…And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ~Hebrews 9:28, 10:10

Happy Thanksgiving to all….regardless of country or creed.

Quotography and Life Through the Lens

Let's get real about thankfulness

chocolate

In the beginning, the Lord created chocolate, and he saw that it was good.
Then he separated the light from the dark, and it was better.
~Unknown

As we enter into Thanksgiving week, let’s get real about what we’re really thankful for, right?! 😉

(For those of you that know me, you’ll notice my tongue is firmly placed in my cheek and I gave a quick winked when I said this.)

Linking up with Quotography
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I may not be rich, but my blessings are priceless

Peanut profile 2013Texture by Kim Klassen; 2110 100% soft light | and the background texture by ME!; 40% masked screen

I may not be rich, but I do have priceless grandchildren.
~Unknown

Kaylene at My Whisperings revamped Quotography at the beginning of the month and made November’s theme Remembrance/Thankfulness. And no list of mine would be complete without including the grandbabykin, Peanut.

We have two other wonderful grands…Big Brother JR and Twix (arriving in February). But Peanut is the one who stole my heart five years ago when she was laid in my arms, making me…Nana.

And for that, I try very hard to remember to be thankful every day.

Linking up with Quotography, Texture Tuesday and Texture Twist
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