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This has been a fun month of intentional joy.  Focusing on joy helped me to choose joy more often, cultivating a life steeped in more laughter and gratitude.  So I’d love to continue this conversation and am a little sad to wrap up the series today.  But I’m also a person who likes change and loves new creative projects, so I’m also excited for a new month, new stories, and some exciting developments I’ve got planned.

But that doesn’t mean I’m leaving joy behind!  JOY is my theme all year long, so I wanted to share with you the ten things I’ve learned from my month of joy.

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The only way to take a character picture at Disney is to be a character.

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10 Lessons from a Joy Junkie

1.  Joy, most of the time, is a choice.  So are worry, frustration, annoyance and many other negative patterns of thinking.

2.  I’m always surprised how much the “little” things of life bring me joy.  Good salsa, real cuban coffee, time with friends, reading a good book, watching the snow fall.  Don’t discount the little things of life.

3. My daughter was overjoyed on Valentine’s Day, not because she received a shoebox full of candy at school (that just made her hyper), but because she had bought me a gift.  And oh, she couldn’t wait to give me the gift!   Afterwards she kept asking, Do I like the gift? And Mom, did you know I bought you a gift? And what will you do with the gift? 

It was the act of giving that brought her joy.

PC3014124. It’s amazing how when I don’t choose joy, I will often resort to a negative pattern of thinking.

5. It’s easy, when you’re busy, to neglect the things that bring you joy.  I think this is especially true of moms.

6. Although joy and laughter aren’t always tied, I can often measure my joy by how much I’ve laughed in a day.  Goal: Laugh more.

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7. Seeing the positive in a bad situation often does make the situation seem better even if it’s not.  Psychologically, this is a huge relief.

8.  It’s good to laugh at myself.  Lesson: Don’t take yourself so seriously.  SERIOUSLY.

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I like to photo bomb important people.
I like to photobomb important people.
No birds were hurt in the taking of this photo!
No birds were hurt in the taking of this photo!

9. Choosing joy is not plastering a smile on my face and forcing myself to “act happy.”  That is called lunacy.  True joy is authentic.

10. The most important thing about a Joy Habit: True Joy comes from Him.  Our faith in Christ is tied to our perspective on life, death, eternity, and how we live.  If I thought this life was all there was, how could I live with joy?  How could I get out of bed every morning?  Knowing that eternity with Jesus is my future gives me hope in all things.  It gives me joy for the long haul.

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The Joy Plan Series

Even though the series is coming to a close, JOY is my focus for the whole year (and hopefully a lifetime. I want to be a Joy Junkie!)  If you’ve missed any part of the series, here it is, for a limited time only.

  1. Practical Strategies to find Joy in your Life (Introduction of the Joy Plan)
  2. How to Find Joy in the Lord
  3. 30 Ways to Find Joy (Free Joy Plan Download)
  4. How Perfectionism Will Kill Our Joy
  5. Dear Daughter: What You Need to Know about Real Love (Joy in Relationships)
  6. Celebration of Real Love (Joy in Marriage)
  7. Choosing Joy in Grief
  8. How to Help a Hurting Friend Find Joy

Many thanks to my dear friends who read this blog and who share their own stories with me. Your kind comments and stories inspire me to live joy.

Sara

6 Comments on Ten Things I learned from a month of JOY

  1. I ♥ the word, the plan, the photos and all that you’ve learned and passed on. The past year has been a difficult one for me. I’ve been surprised by the joy I’ve found in a very unexpected place – with my mother in the Special Care Unit where she resides. It has changed me in ways I’m still discovering. This morning as I led hymn sing at Golden Years Retirement Home, I experienced an unusual surge of joy in 45 minutes of singing the familiar, strong and reassuring songs of faith that have become a part of me. I SO agree with you that joy IS a choice.

    • Hi Chelsea, thanks for stopping by! Yes, I need the continual reminder that joy and negativity are both choices, so which will I choose today? Sometimes it’s an easy choice, but other days it takes more courage to choose joy.

    • Thanks so much Sarah. I hope you are inspired to have more joy on the farm and everywhere you journey in life. Thanks for your kind words. My photos are an attempt to capture beauty in the mundane moments of life and inspire others to see beauty in their daily journeys.

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