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.

february-rose-72

Here, there and in-between

There is a split second right when I wake up where it feels like everything is normal. A moment when I look forward to the day. A moment when I’m calm and have a sense of peace about life.

And then reality creeps into my consciousness and brings back the realization that our life is anything but normal. Entrepreneur’s kidney cancer diagnosis is a constant reminder of the reality that our hopes and dreams for the future may not materialize unless a miracle happens.

And my heart sinks. And I want to crawl back under the covers. The tears well up and my mind begins the daily race against the abyss.

But retreating under the covers in an attempt to block out the world can’t happen. Much as I feel paralysis by analysis many mornings, life simply doesn’t stop just because something unexpected has happened. There are children to take care of, work to do, meals to make, a house to clean. There is homework to supervise, pets to feed, schedules to keep, classes to teach.

And through all of this, my muse has up and disappeared on me again. She has a nasty habit of doing that just when I could really use her creative distraction. Both words and photographic expression have become scarce. I feel overwhelmed with the mundane. Sometimes I struggle to remember what day it is.

Last Monday was my birthday. It came and went without much fanfare…which is fine with me. I appreciate those who remembered and wished me well. Received flowers from Entrepreneur with the promise of jewelry while in Mexico for our upcoming vacay. A lovely sentiment, but absolutely not necessary. We all know the gift I’d rather have.

For my birthday, a dear friend gave me a mug for my cuppa…tea, hot chocolate (with or without a touch of Bailey’s)…and I love it. I appreciate her thoughtfulness so much that I just had to try to coax my muse back with a little winter light play on the yummy green color. This is my attempt at distracting my attention as Entrepreneur has biopsies done on his lungs and thyroid today to confirm the cancer.

cuppa 1 web

Friends, what would we do without them.

cuppa 3 web

They show up just as things seem to be going darkest and offer strength, comfort and support.

cuppa 2 web

In both big and small ways.

Linking up with LTTL and Friday Finds
Life thru the lens fridayfindsbutton2

Worry is stealing my peace

peanut & twix 72
texture by Kim Klassen: 0605 soft light
Black and white photo with masking on faces

Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s trouble, it takes away today’s peace.

 I’m a worrier. One of my biggest character flaws. You can assure me every which way from Sunday that everything will turn out okay, but I’ll still manufacture scenarios in my head of the worst possible future outcome of any circumstance or situation.

Like I’m doing with Peanut and Twix. Their future is a total open book but circumstances are such that I think I have a crystal ball and can see their future. And I don’t really like some of the things I see. I’ve made myself physically sick fabricating what I think may happen in their lives.

Do you ever do that? Get so caught up in worrying about the future that you’re completely blind to the wonderful things happening right in front of you in the present? Obsessing about what we think is going to happen in the future can mess with our minds to the point where we live in a hopeless mental state….making decisions based on a pessimistic viewpoint instead of living optimistically.

Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.

I saw this quote and it really made me stop and realize just how true that is. It’s similar to a self-fulfilling prophesy. Worry about what might happen in the future can subconsciously lead us to make decisions in the present that may make it easier for what we’re worrying about come true. When we spend our time worrying about what might happen, we crowd out our brains of the good memories of the past and don’t leave any room for positive possibilities in the future.

Worrying is using your imagination to create things you don’t want.

And we all know how powerful an imagination is! Strangely, we have the capability to direct our future simply by the thoughts we choose to dwell on in our heads. Decisions based on what we’re worried and anxious about are never good ones.

There isn’t enough room in your mind for both worry and faith.
You must decide which will live there.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:6-8

Which will you choose today?

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Texture Twist and Life Through the Lens.
Texture Tuesday  texture-twist
Life through lens