Joy

In the midst of the craziness of life, when busy-ness threatens to overwhelm, one of my most useful disciplines is to slow down and name the things that are bringing me joy…  There are so many.

A few of them from the past month would include:

Tough Mudder (a 10 mile adventure race up and down a mud-covered hill, full of obstacles to climb over, jump off of, swim under, run through, slide down, and generally try to not hurt yourself too badly…  so much fun, and so glad to share the day w/ Josh.)

– The reminder that our world is bigger than I remember.  Wanna go explore somewhere?

– Rafting in Wisconsin w/ friends – laughing, swimming, telling stories, and enjoying being outside in the sun on the river (w/ my favorite part the waterfall at the end.  If you jump through the waterfall from the right spot, you end up behind it, feeling thousands of gallons of water pour down all around you, all noise drowned out by the roar of the rushing water…  and then you go under and it shoots you down the river so hard that you don’t pop up til you’re 30 feet downriver…)

– This, and what it represents about our world and the people in it…

– Celebrating life with family that I don’t get to see all that often.

– Freshness, newness, and continued hope as I step with eager anticipation into the next good things God has in store…

There is much to be thankful for.  And joy all around.  Even here, where you find yourself today, if you will only stop and look…

Time-outs

In some ways, I feel like the last week and a half has been a “time-out” of sorts. Spending time w/ family and friends, not working, no school projects or deadlines hanging over me… And while I head back to Philadelphia today – with projects and deadlines to finish, I’m so thankful for the Sabbath rest I’ve experienced, laughter and sharing and deep conversations and being reminded over and over again how richly I am blessed and deeply I am loved.

Because I am. And you are.

The sun still shines. The rain still falls. Our bodies metabolize the food we eat. Breath fills our lungs.  We are not alone.  And God is good.

Thankful


I’m sitting here on the balcony of my grandparent’s home in Redondo Beach, barefoot and t-shirted, watching the sunset, and suffused with a sense of contentment and rest.  “Why?”, you might ask…  Let me tell you just a few reasons:

– the oranges, golds, pinks, and infinite shades of blue reflecting off the clouds as palm trees are silhouetted in the fading light.

– celebrating and feeling the weight of the Advent and birth of Emmanuel, the God who is with us.

– enjoying rich time with family (immediate and extended, except for Carly and Erik).

– much laughter, games, stories, home movies, and crazy cousin antics (our cousin Nick putting Kenny G’s “Silent Night” on repeat, slowly increasing the volume while we had family Christmas for almost 45 minutes until Josiah finally snapped and switched it off, or wrapping items in Grandma’s home and giving them to her for Christmas)

– walks on the beach, flips and cartwheels and acrobatics with the pounding surf in the background, feeling gloriously alive.

– getting sand everywhere.

– chips and salsa, hot showers, and having sand nowhere.

– being with people who know you deeply, and still love you anyway.

– family chess tournaments.

– a day out on the ocean paddle-boarding.

– reconnecting with old friends.

– cross-country skiing, falling in Lake Michigan, and chopping down a Christmas tree in a Michigan winter.

– pink birthday parties with the laughter of children.

– good friends (might as well be family, really) who you can call up on Christmas Eve and they will have you over for Christmas cookies, dinner, and home.

– truth, honesty, grace, and wholeness that pursue me and will not let me go.

– my wounds, scars, and other evidence of growth (as painful and challenging as it is).

I am richly, richly blessed, and the words of Julian of Norwich echo through my mind and my heart:

And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well…  our wounds shall be as worships!

It is well with my soul.

So what are you are thankful for right now?