Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bring the Joy


It’s March and I need a new game plan. {This has nothing to do with March Madness.} 

And I need some fresh flowers for my courtyard. {This has everything to do with spring.}

I talked my niece, who is 9, into going flower shopping with me. She was reluctant until I said I’d buy her any flower she wanted. 

I told her how when I was little {in the olden days}, I’d go shopping for flowers with my grandmother and aunt and it was an all day expedition as they compared and deliberated and drove around town to all the flower farms. 

But they always bought me a flower to plant in my backyard and I realize now how much fun it was.



She listened politely then said, “Hey, did you ever have a thought come into your head while you were thinking about something else and then you can’t remember what you were thinking about first because you’re thinking about what came second?”

{I guess we were done talking about family history.}

Devon wanted a blue flower but couldn't find one so she settled on a ruffly marigold instead. 

Just then, a black and gold butterfly alighted on a flower next to her. It flew a little too close to her and we laughed as she realized she was running from a butterfly.


The butterfly is hard to see, but it's at the extreme left in the photo on the left.

Part of my spring game plan is a quest to unearth little handfuls of joy during my day. 

I’m digging deeper underneath the routine things that I enjoy every day without much thought.

Ordinary things like the aroma of my morning coffee reaching me upstairs from the kitchen, noticing the birds or deer on my evening walk, and anticipating reading the next chapter in the book on my bedside table. 

They’re not exactly excuses for exuberance but I’m savoring them as though they were.



It seems so obvious. I know to appreciate what’s in front of me is the avenue to abundant living, but those humble delights get buried as I wait for {one or two} big blasts of bliss to sweep me away. 

Maybe like a tiny seed, I need to cultivate joy, coaxing it to grow and bloom and then it will multiply. 

Maybe joy comes in the morning as a sweet talisman of hope that we made it through the dark night of whatever is wearing away our happy intentions.

I am making this my prayer.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. - Ps. 86:4

Maybe joy isn’t something we find in the dawning of a new opportunity or art or endeavor, or in a budding relationship or the glowing expectation for any of a hundred things we hope to find joy in. 

Maybe that’s far too much pressure for those fragile gifts. Joy is much more than that.

Joy is already with me. It’s part of me, actually. 

My middle name is Joy. And it’s my niece Devon’s middle name too. 



We searched throughout my house for all the ordinary things that had the word joy on it. We found a book, a plate, a postcard, a frame. She loves to remind me, “There’s our name.”

And after we were done planting the flowers, Devon suddenly remembered.

“Hey, I brought an extra shirt in my bag that I got in New York City at the Rockettes show and look what it says!” She pulled it out. There it was in big red and white letters, staring back at us.

Bring the joy.



I think this new game plan will carry me through to the end of March {and all its Madness} and right up to the cusp of summer.

Tell me what’s bringing you joy this spring?

I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart and with Bonnie Gray at the Faith Barista. Join me there for more posts from my blogger friends!





22 comments:

  1. I love this! JOY! And joy comes in the morning, after the brokenness. When you are broken, all the fruits of the spirit come through. And Joy is, well, the joyful one! I am visiting from faithbarista.com. Write on, and blessings to you today!

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    1. Hi Mary,
      Glad you stopped by! Love what you say about joy and the other fruits of the spirit that we so long for can only sometimes come after a dark season. Grateful for your kind words!

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  2. YOUR POST!!! This brought me so much JOY today... it was like one revelation right after the next -- I had no idea Joy was yours and Devon's middle name ♥ The delightful way you recount your conversations with Devon never fail to make me laugh out loud. Maybe looking for joy is like looking for the butterfly in your pictures...hidden in plain sight and exciting but nothing to be afraid of ♥ Loving that beautiful post card with the birds! {I unearthed those sweet Easter ones you gifted me last year and they are my only Spring decorations thus far!} Can't wait to see your flowers! Praying for all the fruits of the spirit to be cultivated in our hearts this spring my friend-- especially joy! xoxo

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    1. Heather,
      I'm happy you get a little joy out of my Devon-revelations! :) And I just love what the butterfly made you think of -- I wish I had thought to include that but so glad you shared it here! Yes to praying we experience the fruits of the spirits this spring and right into every season following! :)

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  3. Joy always springs forth here, Valerie. I so look forward to these Thursday visits ... and I leave satisfied and smiling ... and always inspired.

    I love the bluebirds leaning on those old blue books.

    ;-}

    And I think you'd look joyfully cute in that Rockette shirt, friend!

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    1. Linda,
      I knew you'd like that vintage postcard! :) How did you know? I did want to steal Devon's Rockettes shirt! :)

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  4. Hi Valerie Joy! Again such an interesting outing with your niece. She sure comes up with some complicated questions. :) I really love that first pic with the bluebird message. And I always love butterflies. Here in the Midwest we're heading back into a colder spell again, but my hubby did set out the birdbath. I found joy in a robin taking a bath yesterday. And in a pair of red-headed house finches starting a nest in some greenery my hubby hung outside my office window. :) Seeing the birds again gives me an extra spring in my step. I'm praying with you - "Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you." - Ps. 86:4 Blessings of joy to you!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      Thank you for indulging my conversations with Devon -- I love sharing them! What fun to watch the birds and know they bring the hope of spring with them and I hope your little space in the Midwest soon enjoys spring weather permanently!

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  5. Hi Valerie! I'm visiting from TheFaithBarista today! I love your vintage bluebird card; I have one that is so similar! And what a sweet memory, to share the love of flowers with your family who came before you, and now after you as well. That thought brings JOY to me today! Thank you for sharing HIS Joy through your words.

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      Isn't that vintage postcard pretty? I enjoy collecting them and I'm always intrigued by the messages on the back and try to imagine what the lives of the senders and receivers of the postcards must have been like!

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  6. Sweet Valerie, this post brought me such joy this evening. I especially love the line "but those humble delights get buried as I wait for {one or two} big blasts of bliss to sweep me away." Oh how I can relate to that. Every day when I walk into my house, I feel a sense of gratitude and joy. To be where I am now is truly a blessing that I never want to take for granted. You reminded me tonight that there is so much that we can find joy in, if we only open our eyes wide enough to take it all in. Oh - and that shirt that Devon is wearing - LOVE!!! -Shawna

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    1. Shawna,
      I want Devon's shirt too! I think it takes a little practice to look for the joy in the ordinary but always worth it!

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  7. Hi Valerie-
    Love this post! I am looking forward to getting my flower pots filled too! It is still a little cold and grey here though. I love these thoughts and thank you for sharing that verse. I think i will cling to that one - I have found when I am thankful and ware of these small daily blessings it is easier to find joy too! Just need to practice at it more each day. Thank you for the reminder and the beautiful thoughts and images! (It gave me joy tonight! )xoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      Flowers just have a way of brightening wherever they are blooming, don't they? It's as if they are determined to blossom and do their job -- to bring us joy, especially in spring!

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  8. Your bright, cheery photos are wonderful and I chuckled at Devon's reaction. No March Madness for me but I would love to go flower shopping any day! Thanks for sharing your joy, Valerie!

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    1. Meg,
      No March Madness for me either! Bring on the flowers! :)

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  9. Morning coffee. Chats with my husband. Hearing my girls giggle together. Lighting a candle. Opening the windows to let the spring breeze in. Lots of things bring me joy when I let them!

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    1. Sarah,
      Loved hearing what brings you joy -- especially the simple things like lighting a candle and enjoying spring breezes!

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  10. Beautiful post: especially loved the pics of your niece. Think God gifted you both with those middle names for a reason. Such truth in what you share.

    Have you ever read Margaret Feinberg’s Fight Back With Joy? If you haven't, I think you'd love it.

    Think you'd love His beautiful gifts of joy here: http://pin.it/phTbWPw

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    1. Anna,
      I haven't read Fight Back with Joy, but I've read several of Margaret's other books and she is truly an inspired writer! Thank you for being here!

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  11. I've been a bit down about my son no longer competing in ice dance that I haven't been thinking about all the wonderful things I can now do that make my happy, like having more time getting our space in the order we want and just walking outside and enjoying time with my family. Thanks for the reflection!

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    1. Amy,
      So good to hear from you -- we've missed you around here! :) Difficult circumstances can certainly zap the joy from our lives but I applaud your efforts to cultivate it. I would be a little down too at the close of such a special chapter in your life!

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