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

2018 – Three Words to Live By, an update

Last December as I usually do I reflect on the past year and prepare to become better, if possible, in mind, body and spirit: 2018 – Three Words to Live By. This year I decided to review my yearly plan much like businesses do to stay on track to meet the goals and objectives for the new year.

My approach for 2018 or mission statement is to live by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

At this stage in the game of life I decided I had no time to waste, no money to waste, and in reality; no creative cells to waste. In whatever time God has for me to fulfill the purpose he has given me. Earlier this year I adopted a mantra, I only want what God wants for me.”

No time to waste

My husband, Vinny Sal and I decided to list our cottage in northern Michigan for sale on April 9th. We would take advantage of the seller’s market and decide where, when, and how to invest the proceeds. Invest in upgrades for our primary home, invest in a future retirement home, or bank it until later. We had no idea what development was coming our way only 3 days later.

“I only want what God wants for me.”

This mantra is what got me through yet another employer announcing their dissolution of the company in April of this year… 3 days after my birthday… On Friday, April 13th, the company made the news public.

My response was 180 degrees different when the same thing occurred in 2009. I was calm, cool and collected.  I knew that God was working on my behalf for a better opportunity than the one I just lost. That was my attitude. The evening of the company’s announcement, I updated my resume and immediately began my search.

Within days I had several interviews lined up. On April 25th, I was invited to interview for a position outside of the industry I was in which was my prayer at the time. I was “frugal” in my thinking… no climbing ladders… no compensation package that met certain personal requirements… no, it was simply, “God, place me where you want me.”

“God, place me where you want me.”

On May 29th, I started a new position earning less money but with advancement opportunities if I wanted to take advantage of them. Although earning less income for the time being, I am still able to continue having all my monthly obligations on auto-pay which I had setup in January.

While no company is above dissolving due to wide ranging economic factors or board of director’s view of “going in another direction,” I will joyfully serve where God has placed me for however long that may be.

No time to spend

I came across the blog, Frugalwoods and an article written by Mrs. Frugalwoods, 19 Reasons Why Frugality Is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me. 

Mrs. Frugalwoods spoke to my mind, body and spirit in her blog post of May 17, 2018. Since the beginning of the year, my attempt at frugality has taught me that Mrs. Frugalwoods was spot on in her blog post. Although I admit I am still working on her number 14 reason. I have Mrs. Frugalwoods 19 Reasons posted in my office and saved on my iPhone when I have that urge to splurge.

Grace

In my initial post on December 17th, 2018 – Three Words to Live By, I didn’t realize then how the quotes, my personal initiative, “The Watering Can – Helping All of God’s Creature’s Thrive” would become central to the first six months of 2018.

As I quoted then, and it bears repeating for many reasons:

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment,‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

I was happy to help a few of co-workers rewrite their resumes. I used to write resumes as a side-line gig after I lost my job in 2009. My small way of helping my co-workers potentially find their new career has blessed me as much as those who, like me have found employment quickly. I’m not suggesting my resume writing made the difference, but it is a confidence booster nonetheless when anyone can present their value and what they can offer to an organization without hesitation.

In March, our beloved Barkley blew out a disc in his back and required surgery. Frugality helped us being able to afford over $6,500 in medical costs so our fur-baby would not be paralyzed for life. He will never be a 100% in his walking or running abilities, but we are overjoyed that we still have our faithful companion. Sadly, many pet owners would have faced the tough decision of raising the money through other means or having to put their pet down because of the medical costs.

Truth

If there is one thing I am certain living my truth in mind, body and spirit has been the biggest blessing. I could not have reached this point in my life without faith through Christ because he gives me the confidence to live my truth each day.

A recent post on my Facebook page, The Prayer Journals, I posted: “Don’t worry about expressing your faith. Those who God wants to listen will hear. You may be someone’s angel.” There have been angels here on earth that I know God sent to help me to listen to him. And there are probably more angels that I didn’t even recognize helped me to feel God’s presence in my life.

Mind

Writing is my passion and I hope in some ways it is a gift. I have three blogs. The Blogging Owl, The Prayer Journals, and The Owl Poet. And I have convinced my husband, Vinny Sal to collaborate with me on another one which I think we will have fun doing together, The Corked Owl. We hope to be posting soon on wine, spirits, food and fun.

Reading, writing and poetry. It’s what keeps me sane… or going insane.

Body

I continue to struggle with my health and weight. Early this year, I went through a battery of tests and MRIs. There was a serious prognosis of MS, Multiple Sclerosis, gratefully, that would not be the case. Autoimmune diseases are tricky and mine, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can present itself in different and devastating ways. But I stay positive in prayer and with practice.

Spirit

Six months into 2018, Vinny Sal and I have not found our faith community with regards to finding a church we are eager to attend each week. I’ll be honest. We’ve been lazy. This is the most critical part of my 2018 mission plan and I am failing. God has been good… and patient… and I pray He directs us to where he wants us to attend and to serve.

My spiritual journey continues in my prayer journal in writing my spiritual memoir.

Spirit of Faith

In the remaining year

I succeeded and failed in the first half of 2018. Looking forward to living more successfully in these three words: Frugality, Grace and Truth.

Cheers!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved