Finding Joy – A Photograph

No doubt you awoke this morning to see friends and family post all their merry holiday photos on social media. For many, it is a time of joy in family and friend seasonal traditions. You cannot help but notice the smiles, wonder, and merriment on the faces of everyone big and small, old and young in these holiday photos.

Where most find joy others find sadness, loneliness and loss. Someone may be missing from the photo for any number of reasons – death, divorce, or a decision. There are empty chairs. Or chairs now occupied by someone else. Time passes. Things change. And so, do we.

Change is an opportunity to find Joy

Sometimes it is difficult to find joy when reviewing social media timelines from this past year. Others seemingly enjoying vacations, new additions to the family, and opportunities in various ways all the while we may be stuck in a rut in one way or another in mind, body and spirit.

While our individual pursuits may not be as happy, significant, or wanting such as a finding spouse, having a baby, deciding on a career, getting hired, obtaining a college degree, finding a literary agent, or still chasing elusive answers to health or whatever may be keeping each of us from finding purpose or pleasure in our lives, there is still JOY to be found even in this chaotic and corrupt world.

Finding Joy

Starting today and every day going forward, post a photo of where you found joy on your social media feeds. If you don’t use any type of social media, take a photo each day with your phone to remind you of where you found joy. If your phone doesn’t have photography capabilities, write down in a pocket-size Moleskin journal where you found joy. Carry joy with you every single day!

Joy is different for each person.

I find joy in the silliness of my dogs playing. I find joy in a hot cup of black coffee. I find joy in the breakfast my husband serves me even if the bacon is too well done for my taste. Who cannot find joy in someone making breakfast for you? I find joy in helping someone at work find an answer or solution to a problem. I find joy not only in the grand things of life when my oldest son receives a promotion, or my youngest son who is now getting healthier; but in the very simple things we take for granted, like the beauty of a red cardinal sitting on a bare tree limb in wintertime – a season I am not fond of to be honest with you.

prince of peace

Where I found joy today

I found joy today in writing this blog post and sharing my love of writing with you. Whatever your passion, whatever your gift, use it to find joy in your day.

I found joy in a pecan pie square that my husband made and a cup of hot black coffee in an owl mug that was a Christmas present from a co-worker.

Christmas mug

I found joy in the love of family and my four-legged ones too. Someone out there needs your love – volunteer, foster, adopt – young, old, two-legged or four-legged. You will find not only joy but love too. I know it. Don’t forget to post photos when you do!!

I found joy in your photos of people smiling and finding joy. You don’t need to know their personal names to find joy in photos.

I found joy today in many ways. I found joy in celebrating the gift of Jesus Christ. Though you may celebrate differently than I do, I pray you find joy today.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Sheri Head Shot

The Blogging Owl

 

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

2019 – Three Words to Live By

A year ago, I posted my three words to live by for 2018.

Frugality (updated to minimalism). Grace. Truth.

I will continue to live by those three words in 2019 and I will be adding to those words three new words. I wrote this post three weeks ago on November 26th, but after reading what I had written I posted the following on The Blogging Owl Facebook page:

“Sometimes you just have to remove your hands from the keyboard and allow what has been written to marinate for as long as it takes be become tender.”  – The Blogging Owl

While my three words to live by in 2019 are the same, this post is much different than the one I wrote on November 26th.

Wisdom (seek)

The world demands our immediate response because of the fast pace of technology. My three words to live by in 2018 – minimalismgracetruth – have taught me to slow down in mind, body, and spirit.

How often have I given an opinion or posted a comment here, elsewhere or in person that didn’t legitimately seek to understand but resulted in derision and divisiveness?

While owls are supposedly known for their wisdom (I don’t include myself here), I have chosen my first word to be – Wisdom.

To seek knowledge of what is true or right, coupled with just judgment as to action, discernment, or insight. (Dictionary.com)

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”  – e.e. cummings

In this owl’s opinion, if a person does not feed the brain, the person becomes greedy. If a person does not feed the heart, the person becomes needy. And in both cases, the person becomes self-serving in spirit.

Proverbs 2:6-11 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
6 The LORD gives wisdom.
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He has reserved priceless wisdom for decent people.
He is a shield for those who walk in integrity
8 in order to guard those on the paths of justice
and to watch over the way of his godly ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—
every good course in life.
10 Wisdom will come into your heart.
Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Foresight will protect you.
Understanding will guard you.

Honor (speak)

My second word to live by in 2019 is – Honor. Honor goes hand in hand with wisdom.

“To speak with honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions.” (Dictionary.com)

Bold convictions do not require me to be unkind, but rather with emotional intelligence to reach understanding. There is a difference between understanding and acceptance that must be said. We are all made by God and I accept that person. Period. My goal is to do my best to understand that person or circumstance.

The best place to be at in any given moment is when I am surrounded by people who support me and lift me higher in mind, body and spirit whether they are family, friends, church, community or where I am employed. Even so, in or out of that cocoon, they and the world will challenge my opinions and even my heart. I accept, and I understand that reality.

Proverbs 4:6-8 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
6 Do not abandon wisdom, and it will watch over you.
Love wisdom, and it will protect you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is to acquire wisdom.
Acquire understanding with all that you have.
8 Cherish wisdom.
It will raise you up.
It will bring you honor when you embrace it.

Joy (share)

For. The. Love. of. Scotch!

JOY! Is all around us if we just take the time to look for it, believe it, and feel it.

“To share happiness caused by living in the present, of finding delight in what is good.” (Dictionary.com)

“Self-confinement makes joy impossible. Feed my fears and my faith will starve. Feed my faith and my fear starves.” The Blogging Owl

Feeding my faith every day in mind, body and spirit helps me to find joy and share it even when it is purely the simple act of sharing a smile, opening a door for someone, or  just listening to someone who is struggling in mind, body and spirit.

The smallest act of kindness toward someone maybe the biggest part of that person’s day. Be the biggest part of someone’s day. – The Blogging Owl

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Looking forward to 2019

There was a reason for taking my hands away from the keyboard 3 weeks ago. God still had much to teach me with my words to live by in 2018 in minimalism, grace and truth. After attending two separate funeral visitations of people who left this earth too soon, I have been called to write something very special in 2019 and to share that joy will take those 3 words to live in 2018 and plenty of wisdom and honor.

Words to Live By 2019.jpg
“Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”  Vincent van Gogh

Writing is my calling.

In the words of the poet, June Jordan,“As I am a poet, I express what I believe, and I fight against it whatever I oppose, in poetry.”

In minimalist fashion, may I write with grace, truth, wisdom and honor and with the understanding of sharing my joy with you.

Peace,

Sheri Head Shot
The Blogging Owl

Whether it is here at The Blogging Owl, on my poetry site TheOwlPoet.com, on my journal site, ThePrayerJournals.com and on a new blog, TheCorkedOwl.com, I hope you will follow, share, and comment on all of the Owl blogs.

 

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

Finding Joy – In a cup of coffee

In the words of Pastor Rick Warren, “Contentment is not laziness, complacency, apathy, or fatalism. Contentment does not mean you are not making progress, or you do not have goals. It means you are happy with what you have right now.”

“It is better to have only a less with peace of mind, than being busy all the time with both hands, trying to catch the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

If only

When I was younger climbing the rungs of my career and as a mother of young sons trying to catch my breath, I wish I had heard these words then and they become more powerful for me to heed now in my empty nest. Turning back time is impossible but living in the present can slow it down.

Which brings me to today, the biggest day of the year for retailers and shoppers – Black Friday. This isn’t a day I usually go out to the local shops and mall, however, my son is home from college and has the day off of work. He wants to go shopping. A chance to spend time with my son, you bet!

Joy in a cup of coffee

Around the world and particularly in the United States, there is much discontent. It is difficult to find much joy no matter where one turns although many people mouth these words across social media to make kindness great again (myself included). Yet even today for this Black Friday after waiting in a long drive-thru lane to purchase a decaf coffee for my son, the vehicle in front of us paid for our order. My son and I look at each other in amazement as the drive-thru server with the biggest smile and the brightest blue eyes said it had been happening all day. So of course, we paid kindness forward or should I say backward.

It was the best gift I bought all day.

It was worth every penny of the $11.31 for one 16 oz. cup of decaf coffee to see the joy in the faces of the drive-thru server and my son.

Caffeinated thoughts

I had enough coffee before we had set out on our shopping expedition, still the Starbucks pay-it behind experience got me thinking in over-drive.

Why does it take a holiday for us to be kind to one another?

Is it reminder to ourselves that kindness can still bring joy to a stranger? That the gift of giving without any expectations is still possible, still worthy?

How can we learn to be content with acts of kindness rather than simply buying a gift out of obligation or because it is the latest, greatest, and most likely the most expensive material gift on the shelves today and we must have it?

How can we, as a nation learn to be content with what we have rather than be so concerned with those seeking fairness in asylum, equality, and opportunity to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Granted, we have our own set of problems with homelessness, gun and domestic violence, and under-insured people, but do we even bother helping our own as we check-out the latest X-Box or designer sneakers?

How do we accept others different than ourselves who are also American-born citizens as well as those born elsewhere?

How can we be kind to one another every day?

Paying kindness forward

Citizens of the United States have always rallied to help one another in crisis, whether here at home or abroad. Yet currently there are many Americans who are taking a nationalist approach to the global economy and national security to name just two topics. I contend it is easier to keep what made this country great – our ingenuity, our integrity, and yes, our kindness than to discard those qualities for own self-righteousness.

I am not what I own, whether it is in the material things I buy on Black Friday or what I am given because by the grace of God I live in the United States. Dreams and ambitions do not just reside in these things, but in what I do, in what I think, and where I live. They reside in each one of us who may look, believe, speak differently than I do or live beyond borders.

I pray that I can be content with what I have and allow my content to make progress toward healing the world with the goal of making it a better place for everyone. Not just in the holiday season but all  year long.

Find joy in making the world a better place

Heal the World lyrics by Michael Jackson

Heal the World Video

May we all find joy

Why not buy someone a cup of coffee today and discuss how kindness can be paid forward to heal the world? Then act upon it together. Kindness starts with you and me. It starts with acceptance and the desire to understand each other and not just in the drive-thru lane.

Peace,

The Blogging Owl

 

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