Tag Archives: joy

Remembering a Day Full of Joy…

     Last Saturday my husband and I left home early in the morning, stopped at Starbucks, and then headed out of town for a day trip to the farmlands of the Palouse. As Ron drove down country roads, looking for the “just right” photo opportunity, we had some great discussions.

     Between our jaunts down dusty roads, we spent a couple hours walking well-groomed pathways in the 45-acre University of Idaho Arboretum outside Moscow. If you live anywhere nearby, you may want to check out this botanical gem. Several photos from the Arboretum are in today’s post.

     After a nice long walk, we found a restaurant in Moscow, and for the first time in over two months—because of the Covid-19 shutdown—we were able to dine inside.

     I cherish days like this!

          Simple pleasures,

               The beauty of nature,

                    Rich conversation,

                         Time alone with ‘my man,’ my best friend,

                              No need to cook,

                              A day full of joy!

One of many beautiful granite benches in the Arboretum, all with different inscriptions.

 

The fragrance from a wide variety of lilacs was intoxicating!

   … Let the hills sing out their songs of joy.

Psalm 98:8 (NLT)

Prayer:
God of Wonder,
Thank you for expressing
Your love through
The joy of creation.
Amen

Asking God to give you days filled with joy…

Sue Reeve

Full Joy: A Lingering Message of Easter…

Beautiful Easter sidewalk chalk drawing created by our granddaughter, Emalynn.

     Today is Easter Monday, a day when many Christians are feeling the afterglow of Resurrection Sunday. In Orthodox Eastern Christian traditions, the Monday following Easter is called “Bright” or “Renewal” Monday and is an important extension of the Easter celebration.

     Early spring in North Idaho this year hasn’t been especially nice. Too many gloomy days, cold fronts, and spring snowstorms for my liking have passed through our region. The weather has seemed to match the mood of the nation as folks have been forced into isolation, and concern about brighter days has at times felt grim.

     A few days ago, news about the Covid-19 pandemic seemed a bit more hopeful. The curve seemed to be flattening. (I’ve never considered a flattened curve before, but nowadays, I look forward to hearing that news.)

     The weather that day complimented the news. It felt as if spring truly was going to arrive. Thinking like lots of other people who call Coeur d’Alene home, my husband Ron and I headed to the Centennial Trail for a nice, long walk.

     Everything about that bright afternoon spoke joy. The sun shone brightly. The lake was brilliant blue. Families rode bicycles along the trail. Little ones, donned in helmets, riding tiny, wobbling two-wheeler bikes, made me smile, reminding me of our four-year-old grandson who I’ve been missing lately. Dogs walking their owners seemed beyond delighted with an array of new scents.

     We stopped to rest and soak in sunshine on a bench overlooking the lake. At the end of that bench was a painted rock, left lovingly for a passerby. On the rock was a verse of Scripture with words spoken by Jesus shortly before his dreadful death: “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

     Many have said last week was our nation’s worst week in history because of the many coronavirus deaths which occurred. My heart aches for the thousands of people grieving loved ones lost to the devastating disease as well as for the millions whose lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic.

     Our nation’s “worst” week correlated with another dreadful week. A week known as Holy Week, during which Jesus—perfect in every way—was misunderstood, betrayed, rejected, ridiculed, beaten, and subjected to the cruelest of deaths.

     Within the sadness of Holy Week, however, Jesus planted the seed of joy—joy that would remain despite whatever the circumstances. Full joy!

     The psalmist declared:

…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalms 30:5).

     Certainly, that truth comes alive for Christians on Resurrection Sunday when the empty tomb displays ‘full joy!’ My prayer and belief are that it will also come alive for our nation as the inconvenience and tragedy of Covid-19 becomes history.

     Back to that rock we discovered on the bench by the lake. For a while, feeling grateful for its joyful message, I held it in my hand as we continued our walk. Then, I deposited it on a different bench so another passerby could receive the blessing and encouragement.

Prayer:

Christ Who Brings Joy,

Thank you for the hope of joy you give

Despite dismal days and dreadful circumstances.

Remind me often that FULL JOY is an ongoing message of the cross.

Amen

Sue Reeve

 

Advent – Week Three JOY

This week Ron and I lit the third candle on our Advent wreath, a light symbolizing JOY. It joined the lights of HOPE and PEACE.

     One of today’s most beloved Christmas Carols, “Joy to the World” was printed originally in 1719 in a collection written by Isaac Watts.

     Even though Mr. Watts didn’t intend his hymn to be a Christmas carol, the theme of “joy” surely fits when thinking about the arrival of Emmanuel.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people. (Luke 2:8-10 NIV)

     The short New Testament book of Philippians is one of my favorites.

     The Apostle Paul references ‘joy’ or ‘rejoicing’ over a dozen times in the letter to his friends in Philippi. When he wrote this letter, he was under Roman house arrest, shackled 24/7 to a Roman guard. Not a very joyous place to be!

     Obviously, Paul had figured out having joy isn’t dependent on being in pleasant circumstances. I imagine he would have agreed with Henri Nouwen:

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.

     The decision to “choose joy” can be difficult and confusing. In Thursday’s post, I unpack the matter of joy a bit more. Until then, rejoice with me as we consider the lyrics of Joy to the World

1 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

2 Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

3 No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

4 He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness
and wonders of His love,
and wonders of His love,
and wonders, wonders of His love

May your hearts and homes be filled with Joy this third week of Advent…

Sue Reeve

P.S. Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 17th, you’ll be receiving a special notification from Listening on the Journey… Please be sure and open and follow the instructions for a Christmastime giveaway.