Five Minute Friday scribblings, Joy

Happy: Happiness and Joy

Rain kissed flowers

Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—HAPPY. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!


When Kate announced our word this week, I had to stop and think. I had John Denver going through my head (Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…”)


I frequently struggle with living out happiness and living out joy. Sometimes happiness seems the more shallow emotion, the more temporal choice.

But really, there are times when I’m. Just. Happy. Period.

When the boys make me laugh big. When my husband wraps an arm around me, or pulls me into a kiss.

When a friend confides something to me.

When I have the privilege of praying for someone struggling wth something BIG.

I’m happy.

Joy is something that comes when things are rough. Joy is something I can choose. Good has given us joy. And this is wonderful. It’s a part of who He is.

With Edmund and Peter

He’s filled us with it. “The joy of the Lord will be my strength.”

Joy helps us through the most difficult of times. The struggles. The heartaches. The fun times.

Happiness seems more ethereal at times. More temporary. But it sometimes fills every cranny of who I am.

Happiness fills me when God paints the sky in bright vibrant colors. Ribbons of peach with soft hues of creams and yellows, make my heart sigh in wonder.

I feel happy.

God shows His artistry with the changing leaves. The spring flowers. The contrast of white on tree branches against a deep azure sky.

Happiness is something we can feel in the moment. It may not always last. But that doesn’t make it a lesser thing.

Joy runs deeper, but happiness sometimes fills me. Fulfills me, shining a bit of light in a dark season.

Happiness comes when

Happiness comes when we can look beyond our hard and see God’s handiwork all around us. Or maybe just in front of us. The point is, we can look for, and find Him.

Then we can know happiness and joy.

What about you? What makes you happy? When is one time when you chose joy?

Click to tweet: Happiness is something we can feel in the moment.

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday—Happy

And, just in case you’re interested, here’s the song by John Denver I mentioned above:


Christmas, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Hope, Joy

Tender: Jesus’ Reflection Through Us

Christmas on the outside

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—OUR CHOICE. Yeah, this one scared me a little bit. But the word came quickly, so here goes!

This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!


This week we lost a student in our high school. It’s left our school’s community in shock. Though my boys aren’t in high school yet, they’ve been impacted.

When I heard the news, my heart cried for that mama. She’s probably already bought Christmas gifts for her chid. Had plans and ways to make memories with her family. This family who will walk through their first Christmas without this precious son.

What happened to “peace on earth, good will to men?” What’s happening in our world that strips away the tenderness in our hearts, our spirits?

We’re divided with so much to do in a season that should also encompass joy. And yet, so many are struggling with hard, hard situations.

My prayer this Christmas season is that I would have a heart that is tender toward those hurting in my circle.

That I would see beyond the smiling exterior and know how to speak a word of hope or encouragement.

That I would take the time to see beyond the surface and speak something that would make them feel just a little bit better.

snow-blown landscape

This season is not always happy and cheerful for people. Especially those who’ve lost loved ones this year.

And yet, Jesus.

Jesus knows the hurts so many people face. He knows that celebrating this Christmas is beyond them. Maybe all they have energy for is to get out of bed. To try to—I don’t know—eat a meal.

May we who are not in those hard situations right now look beyond the busy-ness in our own lives, and at the very least, take a moment to pray for those hurting during this season. May we take that extra moment to express, “I care” through words to those in pain.

Jesus didn’t tell us to be happy all the time. And though He gives us joy, there are times when the feeling eludes us.

He does exhort us to be a reflection of Himself. When Jesus saw someone hurting, He came alongside them, spoke truth and hope to them. Not condemnation. Not fake euphemisms.

Jesus ornament

With this unexpected death rocking our little school community this week, it’s got me thinking about how I can celebrate Christmas with authenticity, with a tender heart and with eyes that see beyond the initial and into the “real.”

May we see people around us through Jesus’ eyes and reach out to them with His tender love.

What about you? How do you grapple with the tragedies and still hold onto hope? What’s one thing you do to celebrate Christmas authentically?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday. Click to see many other great posts!


I am taking a little blogging vacation to spend time with my family. As you celebrate Christmas, may you know Jesus’ presence in special ways.

I’ll see you on January 5, 2016!

Gratitude, Joy, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Finding Joy

A Voskamp Thanksgiving and joy

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Today, I had planned to share some tips for dealing with busyness for this holiday season.

I think it’s more important we take time and consider Thanksgiving. Both the holiday and the attitude. So, that  post will be up next week.

I love this quote by Ann Voskamp. Thanksgiving is an attitude of the heart, and it’s a choice. When we choose thankfulness, joy is the result in our hearts. We see the good things God has placed in our lives. When we take the time and make the effort to say, “Thank you,”  we not only show Him appreciation, we build up a storehouse of joy within us.

It’s not always easy to choose thanksgiving in our circumstances. Some people have lost loved ones this year. Others are dealing with terminal illness. Divorce. Prodigal children. Heartbreak. Job loss. And perhaps the thought of “putting on a happy face” absolutely drains you.

Maybe, taking a few minutes to write down things you can be thankful for will help ease the sense of being overwhelmed. It won’t change your circumstances. But, choosing to give thanks will lift your heart, and begin letting joy back into those dark places.

D Bonhoeffer gratitude makes life rich1

As we Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the beginnings of our country, may we also choose thankfulness in the midst of our circumstances.

What about you? What’s one thing you are thankful for right now? How can I pray for you over the next week?

I’ve linked up with Holly Barrett‘s and (for today) Angela Parlin’s sites this week. Check out some other wonderful blogs!