Finding Joy

What is Joy? How does one recognize joy?

By sight?

By sound?

By smell?

By taste?

By touch?

Where is joy found?

Can joy be found near a cemetery plot or only in a nursery?

Can joy be found in a pile of autumn leaves or only in a flower garden?

Can joy be found in the halls of a hospital or only at a beach picnic?

Can joy be found on the city streets or only in mama’s kitchen?

Can joy be found in the mirror or only in the arms of a lover?

When is joy found?

Is joy found when we are ready to find it or only when we least expect it?

Why is joy important?

Where there is joy there is hope.

Where there is hope, we thrive.

When we thrive, others thrive.

We become what I call, ‘Watering Cans’. Watering Cans help people and animals thrive.

In today’s world, joy seems more difficult to find.

Our world moves faster today than yesterday leaving us all a bit more depleted of hope. We can pray where there is more division than togetherness. We can pray for all what is wrong in the world than what is right. I encourage prayer!

Yet the world will never be free, and it will never be fair. It will never be all what we hope it to be. While we know it will never be a perfect oasis that is precisely why we need to find joy. So let’s find joy together.

The Joyful Journey

If you are like me, you write daily in a journal. I refer to my journal as a prayer journal. You may refer to your journal as simply a journal or perhaps something else. And if you don’t journal, please start this journal expedition with me today. As I tell people who don’t journal but who would like to start one, you don’t have to be a writer. Your gift may be in painting, drawing, photography, but please understand this one thingyou do have a gift. It is in our gifts that we will joy.

Why today?

Why not today?

I do have a confession though and that is today is my 57th birthday. After my blog series, Lent – In My Opinion, I have realized that what is missing in my life and perhaps in yours too is that we don’t recognize the joy in our day. No matter how bad our day may seem there IS joy. And in this journal expedition, The Joyful Journey, I will be blogging pages from my journal on where I have found joy. All blog posts will be stored in the category labeled #TheJoyfulJourney

My birthday wish today is that you will join me on this expedition of finding joy. Not only finding it but sharing it with me and the followers of The Blogging Owl. Whether in posting a comment on The Blogging Owl page or have a guest blog spot on The Blogging Owl (email me at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com).

Expedition Checklist

 Journal / Fountain Pen
 Good eyeglasses
 Water bottle (or coffee with a double-shot of espresso)
 Determination
 Perseverance
 Sharpen your five senses plus your sense of adventure!

TheJoyfulJourney

May we find joy,

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The Blogging Owl

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone

 

 

Lent – In My Opinion, My Tattoo

Today, April 1, 2018, is Easter.

As I have posted here a few times on the topic of Lent – In My Opinion, I have wondered in writing how “fasting” from expressing my opinion matters.

Over the last 40 days I have been reading and listening to many other’s opinions from all ages and generations on topics that ran the gamut of existence here on earth without expressing my own opinion. (I wouldn’t admit to being 100% silent but, in my opinion, I think I was darn close to it). And irrespective of age or generation, the opinions I read or listened to ranged from the cruel and insensitive to an articulate wise point of view. As I mentioned in my last post on Lent – In My Opinion, Part 3, all opinions do matter, but will they matter? And I came to the realization that each one’s opinions, whether I was in an agreement or not will matter just as my opinion will matter.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

For my opinion to matter I reason, I must reflect the values of what I believe are important in how I live, how I work, how I interact with others whoever they may be. My values and my opinions determine my priorities and will ultimately determine how my life will matter. It will also determine even more than just here on earth.

In my first post, Lent – In My Opinion, my husband, Vinny Sal said I should not choose fasting from what I call my coarse language, and in his words, my ‘potty’ mouth because I would fail the next day just like diet resolutions on the January 1st. Yet in fasting from expressing my opinions I have also reflected on the words I choose to express my opinion. Can another word be used that may be more effective? Is there another word aligns better with my values? Is there another word that will make my opinion matter?

How will I make my opinions matter?

My values are rooted in the Word of God. I read the Bible or a Christian devotion almost every day and I write daily in a prayer journal. Yet, as a sinner I have failed many times expressing my values in my opinions as God would like me to reflect them. My words must be His words.

The art of self-expression

When my sons were in high school, they would often say they wanted a tattoo. A few of their friends were getting tattoos, why couldn’t they? My answer was always, “Your body is on loan from God. He wouldn’t like you to tattoo his masterpiece.” I knew then that when they reached adulthood they wouldn’t need my permission or approval. I just hoped they would think clearly about what tattoo and where they would tattoo their body.

Since that time I have become fascinated by why people get tattoos and how they choose what to tattoo on their bodies. After all, it will be there forever unless of course they rue their decision and go through through the painful process of medical laser surgery to remove them.

While I am sure some tattoos were mindlessly ill-conceived or gotten under inebriated circumstances and they were too ashamed to admit it, the majority chose their tattoo because it reflected their values, some event, a personally held conviction or message.

My tattoo – Luther’s Rose

My youngest son now has three tattoos in which he has shared the meaning and the reason behind each one. Friends and co-workers have tattoos. Vinny Sal vows he will never get a tattoo. And after my Lenten fasting I have found that I  now want a very special tattoo. A tattoo that reflects to me in the mirror every day a message of what my values are based upon. Although it is sad to think I need a reminder at times, I have chosen Luther’s rose for my tattoo.

(From: Letter from Martin Luther to Lazarus Spengler, July 8, 1530)

“First, there is a black cross in a heart that remains its natural color. This is to remind me that it is faith in the Crucified One that saves us. Anyone who believes from the heart will be justified (Romans 10:10). It is a black cross, which mortifies and causes pain, but it leaves the heart its natural color. It doesn’t destroy nature, that is to say, it does not kill us, but keeps us alive, for the just shall live by faith in the Crucified One (Romans 1:17).

Luther's Rose - original

The heart should stand in the middle of a white rose. This is to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace—it puts the believer into a white, joyous rose. Faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). This is why the rose must be white, not red. White is the color of the spirits and angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12).

This rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that a joyful spirit and faith is a beginning of heavenly, future joy, which begins now, but is grasped in hope, not yet fully revealed.

Around the field of blue is a golden ring to symbolize that blessedness in heaven lasts forever and has no end. Heavenly blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and better than any possessions, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.”

A special placement

My Luther’s rose tattoo will be etched above my heart near my left shoulder so as I look  in the mirror each day, it will remind me of the excruciating lashes etched on Jesus’ body for each and every one of my sins. It will remind me that my words and actions must not cause pain, but gives joy, comfort and peace. It will remind me that a joyful spirit and faith grasped in hope surrounded by a blessedness is better than any possession here on earth.

Unlike my gold cross necklace that I can put on and remove, my tattoo will remain as a reflection to all that my opinions do and will matter when I keep them rooted in a believing heart justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

Peace,

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The Blogging Owl

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved – The Blogging Owl – SL Prielipp-Falzone