Thursday, December 18, 2014

Joyful things

I'm catching up on the last several weeks.  I entitled this post "Joyful things" because, in the midst of what can seem like everyday-is-the-same monotony, I want to focus on the things that are joyful; the blessings; the things to be thankful for.  Because life is a blessing.  Every day is a blessing; every moment.

There are many times in which I get discouraged.  (Today being one of them.)  Being a mother (or a father) is not easy.  It takes a lot of hard work (and sometimes tears) to raise children.  And mine are still so little, ha!  I've got a ways to go!

The other day I was telling Jared how it's so difficult at times to enjoy the day because it can be so full of temper tantrums and whining and crying and tattling and so forth.  "How do I stay joyful?" I asked him.  He replied, "You just have to see the good."

Simple.  Straightforward.

So true.

(Sometimes not so easy.)
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.  (Phillipians 4:8) 
Being joyful is a mindset.  It comes from focusing on the positive and the lovely.  Sometimes those things are hard to find, but they're there.  Like this lone, beautiful dandelion in the midst of the wilting grass and the dying leaves.

We can choose to be joyful, or not.  And, honestly, sometimes it feels so much easier to choose the latter.  Sometimes the former feels absolutely hopeless.  But's it's still our choice.

Our loving God has given us such a powerful mind, and He has, through His indwelling Spirit, made it possible for us to pursue a life of peace and happiness, filled with His love.

But it's our responsibility to pursue those things, and it all starts in our mind - how we view the world and those around us and, also, how we view God.
Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  (Romans 1:21)
The more we lose control of our thoughts and the more we focus on the negative, the more we become fruitless.  The more we become fruitless, the more our hearts are darkened.  The more our hearts are darkened, the bigger the pit we dig, and the less likely we will be able to climb out.

Everything begins in our mind.  However, it doesn't stop there; the responsibility grows and spills over into the life we actually live - the things we do.  But I won't go into that here.  That's a different conversation :)

Well.  With that longer-than-anticipated introduction, here are a few of the joyful things from the past several weeks.

The girls love to help out, especially outside.  Several weeks ago they helped Jared cut some of the plants back.  They felt so big and responsible because they got to use his little shears.  I love to see them so helpful.

Izzy is helping to carry the cuttings off.

We then went for a walk down the road.

I let the girls use Jared's binoculars.  (Izzy will be getting her very own pair of binoculars for Christmas this year!)

Trying to spot some birds in the trees.

Addy cracked me up because she wouldn't hold them correctly.  Here she's looking in the wrong end, plus they're upside down.

Another pretty day outside.  Actually this day it was fairly cold - we didn't stay down at the cul-de-sac long (we have a certain cul-de-sac in our neighborhood where the girls play often).

They love to climb around in the trees.

Always finding ladybugs :)
And another beautiful day outside.  This was two or three weekends ago.  Jared was putting Christmas lights up on the house.

The girls love to climb around on Daddy's truck.  The sky was so pretty in the background that I took advantage and snapped some pictures.

Izzy and her kitty.

It was a little windy, haha.  They do love the toy kittens that Nanny let them take home.

And now, some Christmas-y pics.  The girls decorated stockings.

It was going well until I - yes, me, not one of the little children - spilled the sequins all. over. the. floor.  I was not in the mood to take a picture of that :)

Putting up the Christmas tree.

I love this picture.

Helping Daddy with the lights.

Addy had to change into her "princess dress."  She wants to wear this particular dress almost everyday.  I have to sneak it out of her room to wash it.

One night we took the girls to see Santa at the local college.  Afterwards we stayed and watched Frozen on the big screen.

This is not the big screen - just one of them that we watched while waiting in line to see Santa.
Izzy said she told Santa she wanted a Razorback football costume.  Where that came from, I have no idea.  No wait, yes I do...

Addy said...nothing.  Literally.  When Santa asked what she wanted for Christmas, her reply was, "Nothing."  Lol.  At least she didn't cry.

In the lobby, in front of the pretty Christmas tree.

 At Silver Dollar City.

Oh wait, one more.  This is the first time the girls played Battleship.  Izzy stuck around til the end (it was a long one).  Addy lost interest after about 20 minutes.

Just a few joyful things :)

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