Finding Joy Update Six: Rejoice in the Lord Always

Rejoice in the Lord Always, Again I say Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

We are exhorted by Saint Paul to rejoice always, no matter what our circumstances. And, I think this is a lesson the Lord was trying to teach me this week.

In many ways it was a rough week. So rough, I almost didn’t write this post. There was stress upon stress, culminating with my husband landing in the emergency room – where he is now as I write this.

Still, there has been joy. Joy in little moments. Joy with my son. Joy with the family. Joy in the Lord. The joy comes from the understanding  and peace knowing that God is in charge.  I can’t control the craziness surrounding me, but I can control how I respond.

Surrender. Trust. Believe. May HIS will be done, NOT mine.

**Just to let you know that my husband is finally home from the hospital. They didn’t have to admit him, thank the Lord.
(If you want to know why I’m looking for joy or missed an update you can find previous posts here.)

Finding Joy Update: Week Five

Wondering what the Finding Joy series is about or missed a week? Here’s week one, week two, week three and week four.

This was not a good week. I feel like I took one step forward last week and three back this week. {sigh}

Finding joy in God:

In spite of getting to bed earlier this week, I still struggled in the prayer department. I am taking my friend Anne’s advice and “NOT SWEAT IT” (her words 🙂 ). As prayer is proving to be dry and difficult, I am relying on short aspirations and lifting my heart to the Lord during short moments during the day. I try to do my regular prayers (meditation, rosary, etc) but can’t so, I’m trying to offer up my dryness to the Lord. May His Holy Will be done.

On top of this, my cousin’s wife passed away last Friday. She died of cancer at the age of 56. I take consolation that she died at 3:10PM, during the hour of Divine Mercy. Still, my heart breaks. She was such a good woman and someone I cared about. Besides that, we have had 5 close family members die in  a little over a year. I have faith and trust in the Lord, but it is still hard…

Finding joy in my husband:

My husband was on the road again most of this week, so we didn’t have much time alone; but he should be home for the weekend. I am continuing with my goal to find little ways to make my husband’s life easier; which has been easy since he hasn’t been home!

Finding joy in my son:

Things have been better this week. Not great, but better. He still is having more “moments” then he has had in a while, but I’m doing a little better staying calm. My son had a day and a half trip with his grandparents, which helped! Gave me some alone time. I also took (am taking) the week off of school just to have some summer fun – in spite of the wicked heat.

Finding joy in self care.

I exercised twice this week and I know that I have to make some improvement in this area. I’ve also been experimenting with my intermittent fasting window. I’ve tried different times and am finding that my best window time is 4pm – 9pm, so I am going to try and stick with that time frame.

Little ways I’ve found joy this week.

My husband and I spent time with my cousin on Sunday. He is holding up okay. It’s hard but he is comforted by the fact that he was with her when she passed and for the time they had together. They were married 20 years.

I enjoyed the peace and free time I had while my son was with his grandparents and my husband was at work. Although, I did feel weird sleeping alone with no one in the house.

How did (are) you finding joy this week? Come share your joys with us over at Angie’s Many Little Blessings.

Finding Joy Update: Week Four

Wondering what the Finding Joy series is about or missed a week? Here’s week one, week two and week three.

This was not a good week. I feel like I took one step forward last week and three back this week. {sigh}

Finding joy in God:

Oh my, my prayer life this week was quite sucky and I have no one to blame but myself. I took out a bunch (well, 5 to be exact) of books from the library and wound up staying up way late (for me) reading them – 11:30 or 12. Basically, I read 1 full book a day and they weren’t all small books – Pride and Prejudice was one of them.

Staying up late meant I had a hard time getting up in the  morning, so I overslept and everyday seemed like a race to get done the things I needed to. Then I’d settle down in the evenings, start reading and of course, ran into the same thing the next day. So, I’m sorry to say that I missed  my meditation time, missed Mass and feel asleep while trying to pray the rosary.

Finding joy in my husband:

My husband was on the road, so we didn’t have much time alone; but we did have some fun family time. I am trying now to find ways to do little things to make his life a bit easier. I’m continuing this goal. I’m noticing my husband responding positively; and, I’m noticing that I’m changing in my view of my husband – in a good way. 🙂

Finding joy in my son:

My son, my son. He was in a rare mood this week that made dealing with him difficult. He was cranky and tantrum-y. He gave me a hard time about everything and anything. Even the lure of reading to him didn’t work and he gave me a hard time at bedtime. He was disagreeable and annoying. I was at a point where I didn’t even want to be in the same room with him. Nothing worked, not the discipline jar, time-outs, losing privileges. I yelled at him more times than I want to admit.

Finding joy in self care.

I made time for the eliptical machine 4 times this week, which is good. Did okay with the intermittent fasting. I’ve been gradually increasing my fasting and I made my fast until 4pm yesterday. Today I broke my fast at 1:30, but closed my window at 6:30 and didn’t succumb to  any late night eating, so that was good.

Little ways I’ve found joy this week.

This past Sunday we went to my husband’s cousin’s house to celebrate her daughter’s graduation from high school. Met (or got re-aquainted with) some of Michael’s family. I always thought I had a large family; but, wow, his family is huge!

In spite of the late nights I mentioned above, I read some good books this week, which always bring me joy. I love to read. If I could, I’d do nothing but read. 🙂

My mother-in-law took my son to the beach which gave me some alone time to get some work done, including a video for my business.

How did (are) you finding joy this week? Come share your joys with us over at Angie’s Many Little Blessings.

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (July 10, 2011)

Here’s this week’s contributions toRAnn’s weekly Sunday Snippet meme(As always, come check out other Sunday Snippet posts, or join in with your own):

Ten Family Fun Things to do in New Jersey

Going Back in Time (Wordless Wednesday)

You are Precious (my first YouTube video for Simple Catholic Living)

Finding Joy, Week Two

Finding Joy: Week Two

So, we are on week two in our journey to finding joy. I did okay, not great, but okay. I’m not going to kick myself in the head over it, though. I am going to rejoice over small successes. Here are this past weeks ups and downs:

Finding joy in God:

I’ve been doing the decade of the rosary almost every day. Missed only once.

I’ve been doing well in spending quiet time with the Lord; however, I need to push myself to get out of bed. Yep. I’ve been trying to do the 10 minutes as soon as I wake up before getting out of bed because it seems like my son has a radar and knows I’m up – even if we are several rooms apart! Then he’s up interrupting my prayer time. The problem is, though, that when I start to pray while in bed, I soon after fall into a daze. I don’t fall asleep but, zone out. Not good for prayer, is it?! Not sure about how to solve this quite yet. Any ideas?

I’ve made it to a daily mass once. It truly was the only day I could make it, so I’ll be satisfied to do that. Next week I’ll aim for twice a week and work my way up.

Finding joy in my husband:

My husband has been working late and tired, so date nights have been out of the question for now. I have been trying to say (authentic) nice things about him to him and not complain when he leaves the closet door open and his clothes lying around. It is such a small thing so I don’t know why I get so crazed that he leaves the closet door open, but I do!

Finding joy in my son:

I think I’ve been a bit more patient, but need to work on this more. “Why does it have to take 5-10 minutes to put on a shirt? Just put it on already and stop jumping around the room!” is an often repeated in a loud voice…

As for focused fun time, I haven’t sat and played a game with him this week; but, we had a weekend of activity during the 4th of July holiday. And yesterday (Wednesday) he was sick with a fever so I spent extra time cuddling and nurturing him. Thankfully it was a 24 hour thing and he’s better now!

Finding joy in self care.

Well, a couple of days after writing last week’s finding joy post I started menstruating. Not a good time for starting a diet and exercise plan due to the cramps and generally feeling yucky. I did try to watch what I ate and stretched a little bit. I’m going to put this goal in high gear in a few more days.

Finding joy in the home.

We are staying at my in-laws until we find a new place (long story), so my goal of creating a loving atmosphere is a bit limited. Will do little things when I can and go into high gear when we move into our new place.

As for accepting the imperfect, well, I have to do that whether I like it or not. 🙂 I’m theoretically closing my eyes to the “messes” or “imperfections” I see and keeping my mouth shut.

Little ways I’ve found joy this week.

Had such a blast visiting my cousin last Sunday. I hadn’t seen her in a long time and we all had a great day.

Had fun at my niece’s 8th grade graduation party. She’s about to be a high schooler now, wow!

Enjoyed some quiet time when my husband and son went to the beach for fireworks and bonding time July 4th evening.

Although my little guy was sick yesterday, it was nice to cuddle and have little conversations. He is so cute and sweet when he’s sick!

How did (are) you finding joy this week? Come share your joys with us over at Angie’s Many Little Blessings.

10 Ways I am Finding Joy

A couple of weeks ago, when I read Angie’s Introduction to finding joy, it struck a huge chord with me. Over the last few months I had been feeling a similar need to change. In particular, I felt the Lord was convicting me to change, or rather, correct my attitude. So, when I read the post, I knew I needed to participate in her finding joy series. This will help me stay motivated and be a way for me to stay accountable to live more intentionally and joyfully. She is kind enough to have a linky posted on her week one post for anyone else wants to participate they can.

I’m a little behind in getting my first week up, so I am combining it with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday contribution. They actually fit in well because I have several points that I am working on in a few different categories.

Finding joy in God.

The source of our joy is in God. He is our strength and all good and holy change comes from him. And the best way to tap into the Lord is prayer. I need to follow my own advice on how to make time for prayer! To make this manageable, I am going to start with:

1. Ten minutes of quiet prayer. The first thing I am going to do when I wake up, before I do anything else, is sit before the Lord in silence for a few minutes. For now, it won’t be more than 10 minutes.

2. Daily Mass. I’ve fallen out of the habit of going to daily mass; mainly because I was trying to get homeschooling done as early as possible so I can start working earlier. Since we are doing a modified version of homeschool for the summer, I am making the time to go to mass. I need the power and grace that comes from receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist.

3. A decade of the rosary. If I have the time, I will do a 5-decade rosary; but, for everyday, I am going to focus on the decade. I am going to encourage my son to pray with me, too, so it can be something we do together.

Finding joy in my husband.

My hubby is a lot of fun to be with and I love him very much but sometimes I get caught up with responsibilities and bills and Andrew and whatnot, that I forget that after God he is to come first. I miss him when he is working but I’m not always present to him or for him when he is here. So, with that in mind, here are my goals for finding joy in my husband:

4. Date nights. Even if we can’t go out, I am going to try and be more creative in preparing special date nights at home. And during that time, I am going to focus my presence on him and not on other distractions.

5. Lift him up with my words. Gosh, how many times do I say unkind things in sarcasm, or reactively or in anger? Way too many, I’m sad to say. During this journey of growth I am going to try and be more aware and intentional in the things I say to my husband (and others).

6. Honoring his priorities. One of the ways I want to find joy (and give joy to him) is to make his priorities mine. I have to admit that sometimes he will ask me to do something or make requests that I forget to take care of. The issue for me here is, because I don’t necessarily deem his requests as important to me personally, I don’t write it down or make the effort to do what he wants or put it off until he winds up doing it himself or it doesn’t get done which creates a burden for him.

Finding joy in my son.

My son is at a good age. He is curious, inquisitive, and fun. He is outgoing, vivacious, extroverted and talkative. Oh, so talkative! He talks almost non-stop from when he gets up until he falls asleep. And, even in his sleep he talks sometimes! He also has a knack for pushing my buttons! (Like so many kids do with their parents!) I need to rediscover my joy in my son by:

7. Being more patient. My son is smart in a lot of ways, but sometimes I almost forget he is only six. I become impatient when I have to repeat myself or when he doesn’t listen or does things he’s not supposed to. I need to work on being patient in how I respond to these things and correct him in a kinder way. I have to remember that he is just a little boy: sowing his oats, pushing his limits, being a boy.

8. Focused fun time. I spend a decent amount of time with Andrew when we school and when we read together. What I don’t do enough of is play with him. Honestly, some of the games he wants to play is boring and annoying; but, that’s not the point. It’s not so much about me having fun as it is in the quality time we spend together – and making happy memories for him. I am going to try to find creative and fun things to do together, just for fun.

Finding joy in self-care.

During my time in Georgia I wasn’t as active as I had been or eating as well as I should have and so have gained some weight. I want and need to be healthy and take care of the temple of my body so to that end I am going to:

9. Intermittent Fasting. A while ago I felt called to intermittent fasting as a spiritual and weight loss practice. It was the first “diet” that I enjoyed and felt like I could do long term. However, the holidays came and then stuff happened, and I fell off the IF bandwagon. With God’s grace I want to begin this practice again.

10. Exercise. I am going to start slow but be consistent in exercising. I have access to an exercise bike and elliptical machine, so obviously I have no excuse! I am going to make time to exercise four times a week and work my way up to six times a week.

Finding joy in the home.

I want to make our home a haven. A place of joy, rest and love. I am going to:

11. Create a loving atmosphere. Light some candles, decorate for the season or feast day. Nothing elaborate. Just simple things to make the home feel homey. 🙂

12. Accept the imperfect. The truth is, I won’t have a perfectly clean, organized home, as much as I would like to! I am going to focused on having a lived-in, happy home that is clean enough and not some pristine, squeaky clean house.

Okay, so it’s 12 and not 10 but I had to get those last two in. 🙂 I’ll be joining Angie in posting a recap here each week and sometimes posting my efforts on Twitter or Facebook. If you feel called to joining us, I hope you do! I’d love to hear your goals in creating an intentional, joyful life!