Saturday, May 2, 2009

GRATITUDE JOURNAL




I am thankful for birds singing.
Beautiful green trees…
Lily of the valley with their sweet fragrance.
Laughter


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We have all been told that laughter is the best medicine and I firmly believe it is. I laugh a lot….out loud at things on TV, a child having a good time, Sparky (our Jack Russell) playing or begging his dad for another walk, my husbands humor and birds and squirrels fussing over food. Yesterday a crow and squirrel were fighting over a peanut in a shell and the squirrel won.



John and I use humor when things are tough and they have been tough. I feel the day we stop laughing is the day we are beat! I laugh at myself when I spill something or when I make a mistake in stitching….why cry over split milk…..or get mad or call yourself bad names? Laugh instead and get on with the job.



Yesterday when I tucked mom into bed she asked why she hears John and I laugh so much. It made me pause and so I asked her if it bothered her….yes, she said it did bother her because she see little in life that makes her laugh. I said “Mom, dad loved to laugh”. She agreed he did but it always bothered her and she would tell him in private he laughed too much…..you guessed it, I laughed.



I thought about this last night and this morning…..mom has always been up tight and quick to count her losses and never her blessing…..always having a fear of what others will say…..if you really think about that you can see those negative things will keep laughter and joy from your life. Mom really has never been able to be flexible and laughter sure could have helped her.
Do you remember the Bible verse that tells us there is a season for everything….a time to weep and a time to cry….Or read in Luke 6:21 these words….”"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh".



Since dad’s death and mom having dementia I have learned that sorrow or weeping is a process. I had to learn to climb out of the valley so I could laugh again. It was a choice I made. I held on to Jesus and the times come for laughter. It is something you can’t always force but you sure can hang on to the promise that He is there and after the weeping you will laugh again! Basically I see a cycle here…..we shall weep and we shall laugh….life is never a bowl of cherries all the time.



That takes me to joy…..there sure is a difference between happiness and laughter and joy.
The Biblical Greek term from Paul's spiritual 'orchard' in Galatians is chara: joy, cheer, gladness, or celebration. Joy runs deeper than mere pleasure; especially in a spiritual context, it runs deep into the the core of us, and radiates throughout. It is the response of something deep in the soul to someone (such as God, or a loved one) or something (such as liberation) supremely, even overpoweringly, wonderful. Philippians 4:4 says "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say "rejoice!". Joy should remain constant. Joy from the Lord dwelling continually in our hearts is not turned off and on due to our circumstances, or due to meetings where we get hyped up, or not. Joy can be enduring. Seek after this real kind of joy.


Aunt Emily taught us this…..
J-Jesus First
O-Others next
Y-Yourself last.
Today I am thankful for laughter and I know that the JOY of the Lord is my strength!