It’s a new week and a new chance to share our joys.  Tell me, what brought YOU JOY this week?  I can’t wait to hear about it in the comments here or wherever it is you are finding this post.

Here’s the thing, we are together on a journey in finding the joy in the everyday.  It’s all around us.  We are being bombarded with tough news daily.  But. We can ask God to find the joy and He will.

I’ve started this practice of making my coffee and sitting on my back porch in the morning.  Apologies to my neighbors that can see me in my pajamas.  I sit there with just my coffee.  No phone.  No Bible study.  Just me and my coffee.  Do you know how hard it is to sit still and just be?  But I stay there until my coffee is done and it’s really become a highlight of my day, although I lack the words to describe why or how.



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Morning 💛 ☕️

A post shared by Denise Dykstra (@life4boys) on

This week is Fourth of July Week!  It means so much more to me as I think of our second oldest headed off to the Navy soon.  I painted my fingernails Navy Blue this week to celebrate the fourth and honor Isaac (S2).

All the boys seems to have recovered from vacation.  Abe (S4) has a countdown to when they head back out next year.  Abe had a great week this week though because he finally got a hair cut.  He has been my boy who despises having his hair anywhere near his eyes but thanks Pandemic and all the stylist closed down, his hair that needed to be cut before the world stopped got REALLY long.  It was then he decided to grow a mullet.

Let me begin by telling you that Isaac (S2) has a mullet.  He has long flowing golden locks that tend to curl and have basically a life of their own.  There is Isaac, and there is Isaac’s mullet.  It’s a whole thing.  The whole time he has had this mullet (Isaac keeps his hair longer on top as well, although not in his eyes.), Abe has teased him terrible.  He calls him Mullet Man and just over all razzes him hard.  So when Abe decided to get a mullet, Isaac told him he needs to get that thing buzzed off because he has dissed the mullet and not treated the mullet with respect and therefore he is not allowed to wear a mullet.

But Abe is in love with his new style.  He says even when he sings along to the radio all the songs will sound even better now and have more meaning because he has a mullet.

It’s a whole thing over here.


Eli (S3) celebrated his birthday.  He turned 16 while at Fish Camp and so we celebrated it Tuesday.  It was just a mere 88 degrees and we baked him a big ol meatloaf and mashed potatoes, crescent rolls and he requested corn from a can bought from a store… not the corn we have frozen or canned.  Three of his friends stopped over, three adorable girls that the four of them have been friends since they were itty bitty, and took him out to play putt putt golf.  It was so odd to have him gone out with friends.

This week, since we are in a very hot spell here in Michigan, we went out to our favorite lake at Fort Custer.  The boys wanted to see how many people were camping but I knew it would make me miss camping so much that I couldn’t even deal with seeing it.  Eli drove us out to the lake and backed up the Shipsiburban like a professional (and I embarrassed him by getting a picture of his great backing up job) and we spent the day in the water with my mom.

I love going to a beach but I don’t particularly like water.  I like seeing and hearing water, I may even wade in water, but I am not a water fan.  My mom, who is part mermaid, says I get this from my dad.  But it was so hot!  We all had rafts and Abe had an “anchor”, a three pound bar weight that he has tied to a rope, that we ended up tying to a buoy.  Then we all held on to each other and floated there in the lake for most the day.  We laughed and laughed and since Abe had just gotten his mullet that day he had to sing to us and shake his hair out for us numerous times.

Eli left the floating group to fish and he caught some big ones that made him instantly famous on the beach with all the young kids especially.  While he fished, we floated way out over seaweed (so I kept my eyes closed so I wouldn’t see it) and just enjoyed the water and the sun and our favorite beach.

Abe asked why it was that he had to haul me and my mom all over that lake and my mom never even missed a beat when she replied with, “Because we had to haul you all over the world for 14 years.”  Mom and I decided this age the boys is at is perfect because they can haul us all over the lake and after years of being high tense at the lake counting their heads and picking up toys and changing heavy wet diapers, we can finally relax.  The day at the lake was magical.  Even if the ice cream store was closed due to Covid, even if there were x’s all over the floor to get us into the bathrooms, even if there were signs stating we needed to wear a mask, we were still at our favorite beach and we still were together and we laughed so hard our sides hurt.  It was a magical day. And we have decided the boys need to stay this age…the age where they pull us around the lake and have to hang out with us.

The fourth has a feel of festivity to it, even if all the celebrations are cancelled due to Covid.  Jake had Friday off so he made sure he had a headlamp with new batteries in it so he can get out in his garden before daylight and get to work on it.  He has a pot of coffee in him before we have a cup and he is sure we are all wasting our day away being lazy while he is in the garden at the best time of the day – early in the day – working with his precious little growing so well green plants.

Friday was HAMILTON!  And. Wow.  Just wow.  I thought it was a one day only event and I was not going to miss it.  But I am not complaining that it is still on Disney + because I am going to be rewatching it very very very soon.

Saturday the boys had a get together here.

Mothers of sons, let me tell you something.  There is no way to ever prepare you for the amount of food your dear young son will eat.  This week Abe (S4) ate more dinner than anyone else and then shortly therafter bemoaned the fact that he was still hungry and ate two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and then I think he ate a bowl of cereal after that.  Bless the bread makers who have restocked our shelves with bread because if I was still baking bread in this 90 plus degree heat to feed the boys, I may have gone truly insane.


Mothers of sons, one day those said little boys grow into men.  You literally just doze off for a moment and then BAM there they are, all men like and all.  And on the fourth of July, the day you tell everyone in your family you will be gone at an Independence day party (that you go the date/time wrong on and so now you have a crock pot full of fried potatoes, THANK GOODNESS, because….) your eldest dear son will say, “Heeeeeey, mom, whatcha got to eat?”  And a porch full of children, wait, grown ups, will stare back at you as though you have the direct link to Jesus and can make food miraculously appear at near nine pm.

Mothers of sons, there is no preparing you for these moments.  Yet I have done my duty in warning you.

THE BLUEBERRY FARM OPENED!  I am so excited!  The blueberry farm is my flavor of summer an I am so excited to have them reopened! When I walked in they called out “You are here!” and I answered “I AM SO EXCITED!”  It was so great to see them again and get some fresh blueberries, of course.  Local farms are just the best and Brookside Farms (who can ship anywhere in the USA) is one of the very best.

We wrapped up the weekend with the boys having their fireworks, Liberty hiding in the closet from said fireworks, me remembering all the things I have learned to help with anxiety as I think of all the boys messing around with fireworks and me dealing with the anguish of finishing Sweet Magnolias and now needing therapy over that last episode. I was pretty grateful to make it to Sunday where Jake and I gathered round the computer to listen/watch our church’s sermon from the back yard, as we tend to do these post pandemic days.

I have long said that summer is when we live our best lives.  There is something magical about how it stays light out until 10pm and you get to watch the floating fireflies across the yard and fields.  The heat we are experiencing here in Michigan has us all moving at a slower pace because, well, it’s just SO HOT.  But it also makes us grateful for the cool and quiet found in the early mornings and later evenings.

I have just given you a list of highlights.  These are MOMENTS in a week that was not all highlights.  These are the moments I grasped at to be fully present in, to be fully aware of and taking note of and thanking God for.  Mere moments in seven days time.  Moments where I saw the Joy before me, and I recorded it for you.  I’ve been writing this post on and off all week for you.

I’ll spare you the list of hardships.  Just know that even in hardships, you can ask God to keep giving you Joy, to keep filling you up, AND HE WILL.

Look at all the gifts He’s given me that I get to share with you this week.

Romans 15:13 Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (msg)

Now, the part my husband has been waiting for….the youtube video so he doesn’t have to read all the very very very too many words. ;)

Now, tell me YOUR JOY.  Tell me here, tell me on facebook, instagram, twitter or in the YouTube comments.  Or tell someone else.  Share the Joys.  Be on the look out for them.  Together we will be Finding Joy in the Everyday.

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