Monday, June 24, 2013

Inspired to Joy!


A LOT has been happening recently.  

My brother came to visit us.  It has been the first time I've seen him since just before our mother's passing two years ago.  
We are in the process of buying and moving into my husband's paternal grandmother's house, owned now by her three surviving sons.
FIL (father-in-law) will be our next-door neighbor.  Of course, in the country, next-door means across the garden, the field, down the hill to the gravel road, which runs through the creek, and back up another hill.  He recently turned 66, is confined to a wheelchair, his right leg is amputated above the knee, has had both shoulders replaced in the last year, and has the early stages of Alzheimer's.
Uncle E is the oldest brother, and is very opinionated with an acerbic sense of humor.  He has been in the hospital for months with complications from asthma and a heart condition.
Uncle D is the youngest brother, and we just found out he has colon cancer.
We will be living closer to them all, so we can help out to show our appreciation for the numerous kindnesses that have shown us over the years.
Recently, I received a copy of Ann Voskamp's book,

as a prize from a drawing on
which, as you know, is the blog where "Inspire Me Monday" is hosted.  Thanks so much, Ramona! :O)
When I opened "One Thousand Gifts", the first quote on the first page of the first chapter was from Simone Weil (in "Gravity and Grace") - "Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness."
I had to close the book right away and think about that one for a while.  You see , I suffer from clinical depression.  I take medication for it due to an imbalance of those "happy chemicals" in my brain.  A therapist once told me that the meds wouldn't take away the depression completely, but would take away the "bottom layer of misery".
That was a week ago.  I have since finished the book.  It is. that. good!  She writes the way our hearts feel what our eyes see.  Whether you want to celebrate God's goodness with your family and friends, or you need a way to prop open your eyes in order to see the wonder available in the everyday until your eyes want to stay open by themselves, I believe you will enjoy this book.
For me, it did nothing less than reach into the winter where the seed of my joy lies dormant and whisper, "Hang in there baby, spring is coming!"
So, I went to Ann's blog, A Holy Experience, and decided to take her up on the "joy dare", but coming up with my own list of 1000 gifts I have been given.  Yeah, ok, so I'm starting mid-year (there is a printable calendar for 2013 with ideas when you need a little inspiration).  Completing the dare by the end of 2013 just may get your name into a drawing for a spiffy digital slr camera!
I suspect anyone who puts effort into this dare, no matter whether they are mid-way already, or just starting out like me, will get a benefit to their lives of greater value than any material prize.
JOY DARE - June 24, 2013
1.  the endless concentric circles of water made by a bottle in the cup holder of an idling vehicle.
2.  the miraculous words of "One Thousand Gifts" that have reached into my soul. 
3.  the abundance of white salt that flavors our food and cleanses our homes.
(and from the January 1, 2013 list):
4.  the soft purr inside our kitty.
5.  the wind that rustles through the trees.
6.  the happy bark of our dog, who greets us upon our return home, no matter how brief the excursion.
Will you take the joy dare with me?  I'd love to have you along!