Five weeks of finding joy.  Hey, ya’ll, we are doing so GREAT at this.  Is it soaking into you yet?  Are you on the lookout?  Isn’t it fun?

I am finding myself on the hard days consciously reminding myself…”Look for the joy.  Look for the joy.”

It’s always there when you look for it.

There are just days where it’s a little harder to seek it out, aren’t there?

Well, we had some BIG events this week to bring about some serious joy.

On Thursday we celebrated Andrew’s (S1) 21st Birthday.

 

And today is our 23rd Anniversary which we celebrated this weekend.

I still cannot believe that Jake did not get a photo of me trying on clothes in the parking lot since I could not in Goodwill.  I guess that is the biggest sign of #OldLove, he didn’t even attempt anything with me trying to shimmy clothes over and under my sundress.

 

 

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Happy Anniversary to @jason_harold_ We celebrated this weekend in our happy place – #SoHa – #southhavenmichigan and it was fun. Here are a few pics – Heading Out! I put on lipstick and it made me happy – Clementines (a must!) and our FIRST TIME SITTING in a Restaurant since February – Onion Rings, I devoured these so fast! – the lake. It was so soothing – sunset pics – Jake wanted a photo of us AND the sunset and I couldn’t get it the way he wanted so I was laughing because it seemed so silly and he was trying so hard to make it perfect and we never did get a pic of the sunset and us – Jake had to have this shirt and then wasn’t going to pay for it and then he did and it made him so happy – the next morning we went out to breakfast and I just want to know, did we always eat this much food before? Because I couldn’t. It was so much! – and then we spent the day home and he was so happy to be in his garden. #OldLove

A post shared by Denise Dykstra (@life4boys) on

 

It was so good for us to go to South Haven this week.  So good.

And in the big unexpected surprises of the week, a friend mailed me a gift box.  I didn’t even know it was headed my way and it was a gift that put a huge smile on my face.  I LOVE candles and she sent me two.  And a gift for Jake.  Also, another friend purchased me a gift for me and sent her son to deliver it and here is this boy I have known since Kindergarten driving up to our house and sauntering in all grown up.  How. Does. This. Even. Happen.  It was so good to see him.

 

It’s been so good to see so many of the boys this week.  Boys.  I mean, men.  My neighbor texted me this week, “Are you having a party at your house?”  It’s like a truck parade arriving here nearly every evening.  “Aren’t we always?” I answered back.  Even on days when those 16 and older are gone, we had four boys here.  Abe (S4) was THRILLED to have three friends over where they played football were finally able to just hang out again…the first time since March.

There was a day when I totally did not want to see the boys at our house though.  Here is my facebook story from that moment:

Maybe someone else needs to hear this story at my expense:
This morning, Jake had a very late start to work and so our morning was totally off. He took Abe to conditioning at the school and I said I would pick him up so Jake could work in his garden until the very last moment….
And then I also thought “well, I’ll just whip up some fried zucchini for him!” And then too, “And I can for sure get some bread baking a minute…” And since I was going to be making a mess in the kitchen, I figured I would just stay in my pjs and then when the bread was baking I would hop in the shower.
Except.
Before the bread was even close to being in the oven, it was time to go get Abe and here I was in my pajamas. He said to pick him up at 9:15 so I left at 9:10. I shouldn’t see too many people, Abe could hop into the suburban and no one would be the wiser, I thought….so you know that totally wasn’t what was going to happen.
Today he was done at 9 and Abe thought how fun it would be to walk home with his buddies….
And I had to ask his coach where he was….yup, had to talk to him with my not to be seen in public jammies on. Bare feet. Hair literally all over. Glasses on.
Then…as if this story couldn’t get worse…I walked into the house to find that Abe had invited his buddies over for all the delicious brownies and cookies they could eat.
If. The. Ground. Could. Swallow. Me. Up.
I will be up and showered and dressed EARLY tomorrow. And no doubt, the day will go smoothly and no one will show up at our house. But today? Good grief.
This is why my mom told me to never leave the house in my pajamas……
I want you to know I drove Abe to conditioning today all showered and dressed (but still in bare feet).
So, I mean, we had some BIG things this week but you know what else was good this week?
There is a frog living at my fountain outside and at any given moment I can watch it hopping into the water.  It’s joined by some little birds and I imagine they feel like they are somewhere tropical and magical to have a waterfall next to the bird feeder all for their enjoyment.
We had an evening where Eli (S3) and Abe (S4) and I watched Old Yeller.  It was fun to watch that movie with them after listening to the audiobook.  Still sad.  But also good.
I have had some really great conversations with some friends this week.  Not the face to face kind but some unexpected surprise catch ups with old friends and some snort out loud fun conversations with good friends.  It’s been so good.  I have been missing people so very much.
I will also tell you in real time how Finding Joy works in my life in a small practical way.  This week Andrew (S1) FINALLY found a house to rent for him and his soon to be wife.  And because God is in the details, he also found this on his birthday.  I mean, God really really is awesome.  Anyhow, he told me that he gets the house this week we are in and so this week that we are in my oldest is moving out to never return home again to live with us.
I absolutely am thrilled for him.  I am so excited he gets to have a place so close to work.  I am so happy he gets to have some time to get accustomed to his new place before his bride joins him.  I am so super happy thrilled heart bursting joyful for him.
But I also cried.  I cried and cried and cried.  I am crying typing this.
But then I had to think of how this may hurt my mama heart and how it is so good but also, what else is good for me in this?  Not that it’s all about me, but I needed to switch the thinking.  There is no one to move into this bedroom when he leaves and he is very literally taking every single thing from his room so…..
I get my own room!  I’ll have a room where I can set up my desk, have a chair for reading, it’s big enough to add a table for a sewing machine and I guarantee you some yarn is going to be there too.  And so, that night as I had begun to cry myself to sleep for the sadness of myself even though I am ecstatic for him, I began to mentally put together that room and in that I found joy in a new season in my life.
This is how my brain works.
Well, that and a LOT of prayer.  I don’t think I can even tell you how much prayer I have prayed.  God and I have a never ending conversation going right now.

Articles I REALLY needed this week:

Are you worn out, Mama?  You’re not alone.

And this one on (in)courage :  Three Loving Promises: Why you can rest in God’s love for you.

Anyone have any good podcast recommendations or articles/books you enjoyed?

Tell me, what brought YOU JOY this week?  There was something, I promise you.  Still having a hard time finding joy in the everyday?  Ask God to help you.  Ask Him to open your eyes to the joy all around you.  He’ll show you.  He’ll fill you up and open your eyes to the miracle of joy all around you.

Now, here is a video for you.  One in which I talk about bike riding and some fun things.

Don’t forget to share your joys with everyone.  It’s so fun to share in the joys together!  You can comment here, on youtube, on facebook, twitter or instagram.  And if you don’t want to share the Joy with me, well, at least write it down.  Or share it with someone.  Oh, I can’t tell you what it does for your heart to share the joy!!!!

Let’s keep it up!  Let’s keep finding the joy in the everyday!

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