Friday, May 4, 2012

Waking up thinking about joy...

This morning I woke up with this thought running through my mind. Joy is not dependent on fickle emotions. Think about that. Joy does not depend on me waking up on the right side of the bed in the morning or if the morning news is good. It doesn't depend on any external circumstance. Joy, I have found is a presence, much like peace. In my journey, the last couple months, I have been completely filled with peace. That assurance that everything will be alright because I know that my God has never been taken by surprise by anything that happens, that He sees me and knows exactly what I am going through every second of every day. This peace is such a presence in my life that it has totally eradicated fear from me. I am not afraid of what will happen to me today, tomorrow or 5 years down the road. I find that joy has this same kind of presence with me. Joy can be found even in death because I know that I know that I know I am never alone in this journey. Jesus is with me at all times and through all things, and because I know this, joy supercedes fickle emotions that might try to get me to give up on joy, or peace, or hope, or faith. I hope you never give up on these things. They make walking through any troubling journey possible. Once you find joy then happiness can truly be yours also. In general, happiness is the response or the emotion that we experience when "all the stars align in the heavens and all the good luck fairies" converge together. We are elated, happy when good things happen to us, when we get that promotion, or that raise, when someone praises us for an exceptional job, or we find the right person to share our lives with, etc. etc. etc. Unfortunately, when all these things start to fall out from under us we can begin a downward spiral that leads us into depression or worse. This is when we must rely on joy to keep us afloat. Happiness is fleeting but joy is eternal. Joy is a presence that keeps us strong and motivated to keep on going.

A joyfilled journey... This journey will look different for every person because every person is unique, going through different trials, went through different trials in the past and all of that will affect how their journey will go. It doesn't matter the path that we have to take on that journey, it matters who goes with us on that path. I have chosen to walk with Jesus on this path I am on and I have found a joy that is inexpressible because I have Him with me. The joy of living in the presence of Jesus outshines all other pleasures. The more that I give myself to Him and His ways, the more He fills me with inexpressible, heavenly joy.
May you find and enjoy this joy that is heaven sent. I love you. Have a great day and be thankful for the trials you are facing that can bring you to this joy inexpressible.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beginning a joyfilled journey...

I am not sure how to start this topic or what to share. Let me share part of my story and let it take us where we need to go.

In late January, I was diagnosed with vulvar melanoma. Not a pretty cancer and not a nice type of cancer. Melanoma is the most common type of cancer there is but not necessarily in the location that I found mine to be. This has required first of all the biopsy that was done to determine what it was, then 2 additional surgeries. My first major surgery was on February 10, this removed all the tumor but also found that 4 of the 5 lymph nodes were positive for cellular melanoma involvement. Therefore, I had a second surgery on March 23, that removed the rest of the lymph nodes in the groin area which thankfully were all negative for any cancer involvement. I have had scans which do not pick up any cancer anywhere else. My cancer is a stage 3c, which means that it did have lymph node involvement but has not spread anywhere else in my body. I am participating in a research trial study for a new drug that has been very recently approved for stage 4 melanoma. This study is being done to get this drug approved for people with stage 3 so they don't have to wait till it spreads elsewhere in their body so hopefully it will be more effective in survival rates. I received my first treatment this past Monday. This is not chemotherapy but a drug that is to boost the immune system, basically put it in hyperdrive. This is the reason I have not been blogging since February 1. Too many things going on that were too weighty for light hearted, "life is good" posts on a blog meant to share my quilting projects. Yet I think this would be a good way to keep in touch with family and friends through all of this so they will know how I am doing and what is going on in my life.

Life is not always easy. Life is down right miserable at times. How do we make it through and come out on the other side with hope and our topic here, joy? How do we find joy let a lone be joy filled when we are traveling down a road that seems dark and sinister? Yet this is the very thing that has been burning inside of me the past months. Joy is not a feeling we get when every thing is going well for us, or going as we had planned for them to go. Joy. What is joy? How do we find joy? What is the source of joy? How do we keep our joy in the face of troubles? Is joy dependent on good circumstances? Are joy and happiness the same thing? Can we experience joy but not happiness at the same time? Can we experience happiness and not joy? Many questions that hopefully we will begin to understand the answers better as we go along. I hope that you will join me to explore this topic further. I would also like your comments and thoughts on the subject or experiences that you have gone through that brought you to joy even in hard times.

Let me leave you with this for today. James 1:2-4,12

Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

This scripture puts us in the drivers seat to find joy or not. It says trouble will come and it is up to us to let that trouble be an opportunity for joy. Evidently it is our outlook on these troubles and how we react that determines if we find joy or not.

I think this is enough for one day on such a heavy subject. Let me know what you think and what your experiences have been. Hopefully, we will be able to help one another on this journey that is to be joyfilled and not sorrow filled.

Have a great day and do something kind for someone else today who perhaps doesn't deserve that kindness but deep down longs for it. Life is hard we don't have to make it harder. I love you all and hope to hear from you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Joy in a clean office/guest room

I want to share what I was able to get accomplished yesterday. I had a really good day as far as energy level and mental clarity working together and was able to get my office/guest room all cleaned up and organized. Here are some before pictures along with the after pics so you can see for yourself what I got done. The first photo here is what you would see if you stood in the doorway looking into my office.

And here is the same view after I got it cleaned up.

Now as you are in the room here is the desk. Before

And after

The guest bed Before:

And after:

Here is the closet/floor area Before:

And after:

There is still lots to be done to get the room just how I would love it to be not just like it to be but that can be done as I go along. I noticed in the photos how underneath the bed is dark and forboding. I would like to get a box pleated bed skirt, either make one or purchase one for the bed. I also need to finish decluttering some of my supplies and books. The most important thing is that I can use the space again without dreading my time spent in the room.

Have a great day and remember to be thankful for something today that you have failed to see before as a good thing.
I am thankful for my clean office, especially my desk where I can sit comfortably and write this.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ready to start again....

I have had quite a long hiatus from posting here. I will share more about the reason for that in the days to come but just to let you know I am still here and I have been mulling over the direction I want to take the discussions to. I have had this topic pressing on my mind for the last month or so. It keeps coming back to me as this...A joyfilled journey through... Through what? Well, through what ever trials or troubles you are facing. How to walk through, thus the journey, what ever life is throwing at you, with joy. Does it sound impossible? Does it even sound like something that you want to do? What is joy? How can someone find joy in the pain of daily life? Well, this is what I want to cover here. I want to share my story, first of all so my family and friends can know that I am here and what is going on. Second, so that perhaps what I have been learning can be an encouragement to someone else facing challenges. Third, I want to spread joy. I want to help others find this joy that I have found. I want to find my voice and to share it. I want to be transparent and vulnerable, so that others can let go of past hurts and haunting memories so they can be so wonderfully filled with joy that their lives are forever changed. We need one another. We need the support and the love of those who have gone through the fire and made it to the other side and can give us hope that we too can make it through the firey flames that appear to consume us. This is not a warm fuzzy kind of post or topic. We think that joy should be warm and fuzzy and it is once we get past the worlds idea of what joy is and find the joy that only comes from knowing that we are never alone and that Jesus is our constant companion through everything we face. Without Jesus we can not find this joy or the peace that brings this joy.
I will be sharing more of my story and what I have been learning. I hope that you will join me in this journey together. I believe we will find joy together here that will transform our lives. I am sure that we will be talking about other things like love, peace, hope and faith. They are so interwoven that you can not dissect one aspect from another without weakening it or cheapening it.

I will be back to share some of the journey that I am finding myself on. I hope you will be back too. May God soften your hearts to hear this story of joy. I love you all and am praying that we will share this journey together and find joy and peace at the bginning, middle and end. Please leave a comment on what joy means to you or the trials you are facing. I will be here if you need prayer or an ear to listen. What ever I can do to help, let me know.