Thursday, March 25, 2010
Psalm 16:11 "You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forever."
Two weeks ago, I traveled to a church in Georgia to speak about "Cultivating and Preserving a Joyful Heart" at a women's retreat. The topic of joy has been on my heart for some time now...
I try to do my best to choose joy in each day. My life, like yours, is certainly filled with harried moments, stressful situations, unending tasks, and sometimes overwhelming schedule commitments. Since these are mostly unavoidable, I try to accept them for what they are, handle them as they come, and intentionally look for the beautiful, joy-filled moments God sprinkles among the stressful or mundane.
With my personality, some days this comes rather easily...however, other days circumstances make this admittedly a more challenging task! Whatever the day holds, I purposely make an effort to look for some joy, and can usually find it thanks to a gracious and generous God.
And there was certainly joy in today!
I had a strawberry sweetened, powdered sugar-sprinkled morning with my daughter. I decided I would teach her how to make French toast, which turned into a fun ordeal! Still wearing her lavender cowgirl pajamas, she fastened on her cupcake apron sent to her by our friend Laurie in Maryland and got to work. She helped me whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon, stopping to inhale the aromatic scent of the vanilla extract she had poured in the mixing bowl. I got out "real" dishes and she set the table, deciding we were not just going to eat breakfast, but that she was going to serve us breakfast in a "restaurant." My husband had given me roses earlier in the week, so those graced the middle of the table that was soon surrounded by butter yellow and sage green dishes. As I pulled the French toast off the griddle, she had the pleasure of shaking powdered sugar over each piece and putting slices of fresh strawberries on top. I showed her how to drizzle the syrup so it was not just tasty but pretty. Soon, her restaurant was ready to serve our family a delicious breakfast that was prepared out of learning and love.
That breakfast was joy in today.
I then decided to take the kids to the local public library for their kids program. I had heard it was excellent, but hadn't been yet as I was waiting for my son to be a bit older and more, um, manageable in quiet situations! To our surprise, they were having an outdoor Easter egg hunt and snack time today! I was unprepared without baskets, but they had extra plastic bags and my kids had a ball searching hedges for brightly colored eggs containing treasures. The weather was gorgeous as they ran under huge old oak trees covered in Spanish moss that was swaying in the breeze. After the Easter egg hunt, we went inside and they each got their very own library card!! With these new treasures, we were able to bring home several books and two Disney movies in VHS that are unavailable for purchase in stores right now.
That trip to the library was joy in today.
After we came home and ate lunch, they settled in to watch the old movies we had borrowed, and I got a chance to prepare cookie dough from a new Williams Sonoma recipe. It was an involved, messy process but I was uninterrupted as my kids were transfixed by the wonders of Disney, and I enjoyed the chance to watch my own magic as the KitchenAid mixer transformed butter, cream cheese, sugar, and other such rich ingredients into a dough that is now chilling in my refrigerator waiting for my kids and me to turn it into Easter cookies.
That time to bake was joy in today.
The thing is, if we stop to look for it, we can usually find something to bring us joy, something that evokes beauty, something that demonstrates the creativity and love of our God. Even on bad days, there is usually some sliver of good to be found or joy to be discovered because it is a day given to us by a loving God.
Psalm 118:24 "This is the day which the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
There was joy in today, and there will be joy in tomorrow...let's look for it together.