Good Monday Morning.
The sun is bright this morning as I write this post. I woke up the first time at 4:00. I got up then, fed the animals and took my pills. Instead of getting a cup of coffee and sitting at the computer to fire up my social media, I decided to go back to bed. My sons bought me an electric blanket last Christmas and I had that on, and it’s so warm that it’s hard to roll out of bed.
Fortunately it’s my day off so it didn’t matter what time I got up. I got up at 9:00. So that’s why the sun is shining brightly as I write.
My heart is light, reflecting the bright sunshine. I feel rested mentally as well as physically. Just last night I found myself grieving my losses and had a heavy heart. So to wake up refreshed, with a more positive outlook, is a blessing from God.
I like to listen to a variety of music. Sometimes a song just says what my heart is feeling. This morning, if I had to name a song that reflected my emotions, it would be:
JOY TO THE WORLD.
This Christmas carol is one of my favorites for the simple reason that my middle name is “Joy.” I haven’t always liked my name, because it sounds so Christmassy.
Christmas carols, Christmas joys.
While I wasn’t always impressed with my name, I turned around and gave my daughter an equally Christmas-sounding name:
There have been many Christmases where I was anything but joyful as the holiday approached. When we were first married, we were so stressed with shopping for so many people that I became overwhelmed with the decisions on what gifts to buy.
Then we had our kids, and I always spent more than what we could afford, often using credit cards to make up the difference.
I never really set up a Christmas budget, although I opened several Christmas savings accounts over the years. I always spent the money when it came in October, instead of using it for Christmas.
A lack of funds meant we were scrambling at the last minute to have enough for gifts, and so we were always shopping the weekend before Christmas when the stores were so crowded and picked over.
In the past few years, I’ve managed to do most of my shopping online or early, negating the need for last minute trips to the stores. It makes my life less stressful. A couple of years ago I cut up my credit cards and haven’t used them since. I don’t always have a lot of cash at Christmas, but I try to spend within what I can afford.
And my kids have been wonderful with the changes. We give each other meaningful gifts and truly enjoy spending the time together as we unwrap them on Christmas Eve.
I have great kids. They aren’t children anymore, at 30, 28 and 21. But they are the greatest blessings God has ever given me. I am so thankful for their health and their companionship. They have stood by me through the difficult seasons.
This Christmas season, 2021, I am truly rejoicing in the gifts that my Heavenly Father has given me:
Peace of mind. Although parts of my life are still unsettled, I have peace about where I am headed in my life.
Love. The unconditional love of not only my children, but of my extended family who have supported me through the difficult times.
Fellowship. I recently started going back to church. Sporadic church attendance since my husband died led to complete withdrawal during Covid. A few weeks ago I decided it was time to get out of my own head and get back into worship.
Children’s Ministry. As I returned to church, I also started working with children again, in a leadership capacity. Planning lessons and teaching the children’s church has been a big blessing to me, a return to something I truly enjoy.
Book sales. I had a great time in November with author events both online and in person. I like to meet the people who read my books. It’s always good to hear compliments about my stories. I especially like to know when they have touched someone’s heart.
I don’t know how much I “made” during the holiday season, but the amount isn’t important to me. The goal is to bring the message of God’s love to the world by writing fiction. The characters in my book have realistic struggles in their faith and relationships and I always try to bring about a resolution that reflects my own faith.
A job that fulfills me. Working as a housekeeping aid to the elderly has given me a good way to physically earn a living. I also get to meet some fascinating seniors and hear their stories. As my job becomes more consistent, it is enough to pay my bills.
My pets. I complain sometimes about having so many cats in the house, but really, they have all become part of our family. Not that they are my children, but each has a unique personality that keeps our lives interesting.
And of course, my Black lab, Rosie, is my baby. She turned 12 this year. She is very protective of me. When someone comes to the door, she gets right between me and them and doesn’t move back unless I tell her to. She also tends to be naughty and gets into the cat food and other things she shouldn’t, but she is a good companion.
Food, shelter and clothing. All these things God has provided in one way or another and I am glad for the fact that He has taken such good care of me.
Grace. God has given me grace for each moment, for each day, as I have learned to lean on Him through the difficult days. Sometimes I didn’t think I would make it through, but always, He has been there to carry me when I could not walk, to bring people into my life to encourage and support me when I did not think I could go on. His grace is sufficient for me. When I am weak, then He is strong.
And finally, I am thankful for the gift of JOY.
My heart is full this morning of joy.
Of the truth that Jesus is alive and well.
I am thankful for the name that my parents bestowed on me.
Carol Joy. In my heart there is a song of Joy.
Joy to the World, the Lord has come.
Let Earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room.
And heaven and nature sing.
And heaven and nature sing.
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.