Hope and Joy

 

Recently, I had the privilege of photographing a really awesome family in Colonial Williamsburg.  They were such a joy to work with, and I loved hearing them reminisce about the time when their kids were little and loved one particular tree in Colonial Williamsburg, which we found!  I love how they have such a zest for life, and an intangible joy.  Working with them made me stop and consider my own life and my own family.  How often do we truly demonstrate a zest for life and true joy?  Why?  Where does this come from?  Well, I believe that true joy is something that is a result of having the Lord in your life.   Life is such a precious thing, and yet it can be way too easy to wallow in difficulty and sadness continuously.

Please don’t get me wrong- sometimes life can be so incredibly painful.  I understand.  I have walked in shoes I never imagined that I would journey in, and wondered while walking if I would ever get through the journey.  I know that sometimes it is difficult, if not impossible, to comprehend painful experiences.   I also know that everyone processes pain differently and that it often takes a great deal of time to get through it.  And, of course, there are different levels of “pain”, some of which I know, some that I am unfamiliar with.  I also know that there is always hope.  Even when it seems as though you can’t get through any more, there is still hope.  And, hope leads back to joy.  That doesn’t necessarily mean situational happiness, but just that contentment and peace that are there because you know that God has it all in His hands, even when the path you are walking on is dark.    What’s the alternative?  Well, unfortunately, I have chosen the path away from joy, in which I just camped out in my misery with the painful experience, even when it was over.    That, believe me, is not a very good /healthy place to remain.  It affects your relationships, your marriage, and time with your kids.

I look at life very differently now than I did before I had a family of my own, and before I experienced painful circumstances.   I spend more time cherishing little moments and appreciating each blessing, no matter how insignificant they may seem.   As I sit here typing, I am listening as my husband watches the Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots game.  He loves football, and to me, that is just the greatest thing ever!   I see my son outside making huge snow balls and throwing them so that our 95 pound boxer will chase them.  And he is laughing.  I love that!  Let’s not forget the beautiful snow, too.  It is lovely as it highlights the landscape, if only for a few days.

I know that God is faithful, and that we are never truly alone.  I remember the times that God carried us, and I celebrate life now by “diving in” with more purpose.   I really enjoy “diving in” to my family!  These are a few of my favorite family activities for spending time with our kids.

  1. Game night.
  2. Take a walk on the beach. (Hopefully by March!)
  3. Family devotion time.
  4. Watch the sunset.
  5. Dance. *I’ve been known to break out with crazy moves from time to time.  😉
  6. Dinner around the table.
  7. Movie night.
  8. Singing while my husband plays guitar.
  9. Cleaning house together. (I know that sounds crazy, but I love accomplishing tasks together!)
  10. Just chatting. (I love listening to my kids as they express what they think or what they are excited about.)

Choose hope and joy! 🙂

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