Bah-Covid! Can You Find the JOY?

Bah-Covid! Ha, am I right? Holidays are Here, Covid is Still Here, Things are Different. So very different! I know this is nothing new to you, but man are we feeling this year or what? To think we are 9 months into this mask wearing, social-distancing world seems hard to believe. I am sure you are like me and never thought 2020 would turn out the way it has. We had goals and aspirations for the year that were changed forever. 

Scripture to Encourage You Through the Season

Some of you have been through harder times than others and I recognize this truth. With friends and family affected by the virus, job losses and over-worked employees, financial stress, loneliness and social-distancing, etc. this year has been tough. A year we will most likely never forget.

I know this is nothing new to you, but I just wanted to let you know, I GET YOU! Each of us wishes we had the ability to look into the magic mirror and see when this will all end, but that is not our option. So, we must move forward. You may have heard this before, but it really is true!

I wanted to send a note to you as we enter into this week of Thanksgiving and let you know it is okay to not be okay! This year has been a year we will never forget, but I do hope you can find some place for gratitude through it all. I take comfort in knowing that God is ultimately in control and I rest in that daily!

Through the month of November I have been reading through a devotional on Joy. Typically I choose to go through a thankfulness bible reading, but I felt like I needed to add more Joy into my daily life. So, I have been reading through it and you know what? Joy brings out gratefulness too! This morning I read this quote from the YouVersion devotional, A Jolt of Joy and it said,

Thanksgiving is the password that opens the door of His presence to His people. And, when you enter into His presence, you know that you will find there:JOY!

I couldn’t have said it better myself. 

I was trying to decide what to write about or how I wanted to share a little joy to you and then I thought I could share a few verses that have encouraged me as I have moved through this season. Covid, Unknown, Health Concerns, Thanksgiving, Approaching Christmas, etc. All of these thoughts and more fill our minds daily, but I hope that these verses will bring some joy and encouragement to you! You can just grab the images below by clicking on the images and saving them to your phone or desktop. They are my gift to you this Thanksgiving season. I do hope that they will lift you up and bring some encouragement and joy to your days ahead.

Scripture to Encourage Your JOY

I truly am thankful for you and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Here are the list of verses I made images for, just in case you would rather look them up on your own. 🙂

James 1:17

Colossians 4:2

Isaiah 44:3

Psalm 103:2

2 Timothy 4:17

Psalm 43:3-4 NLT

Psalm 34:5

Psalm 16:11

Psalm 106:1

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Psalm 28:7

Psalm 16:8

If you haven’t yet, I do encourage you to join our Facebook group Flourish for daily encouragement. You can follow the link HERE to join us.

If you haven’t subscribed to the blog, you can go HERE to be sure you are one of the first to see my posts. You will receive a pack of FREE encouragement cards for joining in the journey.

To hear more about me and why I started my journey, you can visit HERE.

Making Time for You

Is self care bringing you joy?

Monday morning I went on a walk/run and enjoyed the moments in the windy fresh air. It was really windy, but fortunately it wasn’t too cold to enjoy being outside. As I was running I was listening to a book and it was talking about taking time for self care. What’s funny is earlier that morning I was catching up on some podcasts and self care was the topic too. Maybe I am supposed to hear what they were saying? 

I am all for self care and have been learning to make this more of a priority in my day. However, I was challenged to see if I really was practicing this fully. I realized that even though I may have been aiming for self care, I could do a little more.

One thing that struck me was the author asked you to write down a few things you like to do that you don’t make time for. She said to write down something that brings you joy and isn’t something you have to do. I wrestled with this for awhile because most of what I do has led to something I have to do for someone or something. So, I paused the audiobook and started thinking more.

I realized after spending some time thinking, I have not made much time for things that bring me joy. However, I am an advocate for taking care of yourself. Even though I listen and grow to books and podcasts, I don’t think that is what I need. I enjoy learning and applying what I learn, but most of the time it is tied to doing something better or more effectively. Most of what I was doing for self care was for me to strive to be better, not for joy.

Time to examine

So, I am on a quest to really think about this and examine what I like to do a little more. As moms, so often we put aside the things we love and enjoy for our kids. I love being a mom and am thankful for the opportunity I have to be a mom to my kids. However, I lost a little of me along the way.

One of the things that finally did come to my mind was pictures. Every time I run I always take a picture or two of things I see along the way. Many times they are not great pics and many of them are taken while I am running. Anyone see Yes Man? I always think of that movie when I do that. lol. However, I enjoy looking for something to catch my eye to take a picture of during my time outside.

I post the pictures and many times they are not great, but I still find joy in them. I was thinking about why I don’t spend more time taking pictures of things I see along the way. Why not stop and “smell the roses” and take some more time to snap some pictures of what I see.

Quarantine lessons

Since the quarantine we have really enjoyed watching the pond by our house. The pond used to be covered with brush so we have never had a Spring with the pond seen. We have had our nature lessons as we watched geese, ducks, blue herons, and an egret stop at the pond. There are a few other furry animals, I am guessing they are muskrats. Anyhow, I have been pulling out the camera to take a few pictures. The pictures are not anything that would win prizes, but they are little pieces of our day captured in time.

Maybe this quarantine and time to reflect on self care has been good for finding a hobby? Even if nobody ever sees the pictures, I still enjoy capturing what I see. The next warmer and less windy day I will grab my camera instead of my iPhone. I will spend some quality self care time snapping some pictures along the way.

This is only the beginning of ideas that are beginning to flood my mind for joyful self care items. I look forward to discovering more about what I can enjoy as the days move forward.

I encourage you to take time to examine what you are actually doing for self care? Do you set time aside each day to do something just for you? How about spending a little time focusing on you and nobody else? What brings you joy that you haven’t done in a long time?

Let’s work together to encourage each other to spread our wings and start doing things to brighten our days. When we take care of ourselves, we will have a lot more available to give once we are done. What will you try doing? Let me know!

When Things Happen

Ever have one of those days? The ones where you feel like you have failed in everything? The one where you think you might be okay and then something happens and you come crashing down? You feel like you have taken about 5,000 steps back with one misstep? You have? Me too. 

I had something come up recently that hit me hard. It was one of those things you don’t want to hear and wish that you could go back in time and correct it. If somehow I could make it go away like it never happened, I would just take total control and avoid it at all costs.

The problem is, once something happens, you can’t change it. There is no time machine to take you back before the issue began. You might even not know where it all started and just mess everything else up by trying to fix something else. (Ever see Back to the Future? This is clearly displayed in that movie.) Unfortunately, once something has happened you cannot look at the what ifs, the should haves, the if onlys and make a different outcome. No matter how much you wish for it, you cannot change the past. What you can do is choose to move past it.

I get you, it is hard to move past some things. It isn’t as easy as thinking about the future and forgetting the past. Sometimes the past is pounding on the door and it is really hard to ignore it. No matter how much you ignore it, it doesn’t go away. What happened has happened, the end. However, making a conscious effort to choose to move forward is still what is needed to heal. Obstacles and hardships happen to everyone. Some have way more issues than others, but we all do have them in some form. Sometimes the obstacle are well hidden, but they are there. Maybe everything seems good and perfect from the outside, but if you could take a peek in, you might be surprised by what you find.

You are NOT alone in any of this. There are many things I could do in a situation like I am dealing with today, but there are only a few right steps to take. Though there are many steps to take, but the one I want to focus on today is to get out of the blame game!

My gut reaction, and I am guessing it is yours too, is to blame yourself or someone else. You make the situation all about you in some way. Sometimes it is something we have personally done and we need to own up to what happened and rectify the situation, and sometimes it really is someone else’s issue. When it is something you have done, as I said, you need to own up and do what is right, but when it is not in your power or control, you need to look at it differently. 

Even though I have spent countless hours listening to personal development books and podcasts, leaned into my mentors, and studied the scriptures, sometimes I still fall into the same old bad self talk. I want to put myself down and think of all of the what ifs I can to somehow make it go away. Even though my current situation does involve me somewhat, it is not because of something I did wrong. This situation affects me, but it is not because of me. When people make decisions, those decisions are done by them and them alone. Yes, there may be influences along the way, but no blame should be shifted on anyone else but themselves. They still chose to do whatever they did. Right or wrong, it is in their hands. 

Now, I am not saying to not have compassion or to help them walk through the journey they need to for restoration and forgiveness, but get yourself out of the way and let it be time for the to do the steps to correct or heal. When we make things all about us, we are missing out on the restoration and growth. We make excuses for others and find it hard to let things go.

So, how do we shift our mindset? What do you do in order to step away from the blame game? How do we choose joy through it all? In James 1:2-8 The Message paraphrase says:

2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

I love how this passage says to pray, and pray when you don’t know what you are doing. There is no judgement, just talk to God and ask Him to lead you though it, Let’s make a move and look to God as our first step when facing the tough stuff. I am not saying it will all be wonderful once you call on Him, but it will ease the burden and allow you to rest on Him and not on your own power. 

God LOVES you, just as you are. You don’t have to be a certain way, act out a specific performance, doing everything perfect, but be you. Be raw, authentic, real and look to Him for your guidance and allow His amazing love wrap around you and carry you through whatever comes your way. In Him, you will find the peace to walk through whatever news you hear. His arms are open wide, you just have to fall deep into them.