Monday, December 9, 2013

Joy Comes Through the Eye of a Child

My joy and anticipation to Christmas is growing everyday. Being more conscious of increasing joy in my life has made me think about daily actives differently, but also in helping others to have a joyous Christmas. How are things for you? Is your joy increasing? I sure hope so. I guess if not, then listen to this flash mob song from the United Sates Air Force Band play a rendition of Joy to the World. Christmas music always brings joy to my heart as well as our military. Perfect combo.

If that does not work either, maybe this will. Remember those traditions your family did when you were growing up? Maybe you did not like them, maybe it is what made Christmas for you, maybe it was your's and your siblings tradition, maybe you did not understand why you had to do them? Bring one of those traditions back this Christmas. Take some time to reflect on this tradition, why it was important to you or your family, remember the joy it brought you as a child. Being older, how could bringing this back bring more joy to your life? What does it mean to you know?

My two favorite traditions growing up were decorating the Christmas tree. When the tree went up, that meant Christmas was near! We always did it as a family, something warm to drink, my two brothers and I battling over whose ornaments were in the front, who's ornaments were who's, the fun sibling stuff. Every year we also received a new ornament, my Mom still keeps this up for us.
The other one was going to midnight Mass, once we were older. There is something so special about this Mass. As a bonus, my Mom would make me a dress every year for Christmas. We would take a day, go pattern and material shopping and just spend time together. Many time she was still sewing my dress Christmas Eve, she would come down to the wire, part of the memories. Those are a few of my favorite memories. What are some of yours?

Saving the world one stick of butter at a time.
God bless,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December is all about Joy

Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year! The lights, the merriment, the smells of cookies and baked good being made and their spices, some of my favorites I will add, the music, the decorations, but mostly the Joy and Hope this season is truly all about. I know we seem to be losing this in our culture today. Christmas has become very commercialized, about giving enough gifts, the right ones, not being able to afford those gifts, depression, Grinches. On account of all this, I want us to work on the gift of joy.

Joy is a gift. It is something we have to work for, it is not handed to us. It is like patience, something you have to earn. But unlike patience, joy is something we should all want and pray for! Joy is also something we have to search for and sometimes that search is not easy.

I know most people think of joy and happiness as the same thing, I do not. I see them as similar, but with key differences.
Happiness to me: is a great feeling, you are happy to see someone, happy something went your way, you feel good about yourself, the sun is shinning so you are happy.
Joy to me: is all of these as well, but with the marked difference, when something does not go your way, you are facing a difficult time, struggling with life, the sun is not shinning, you are still joy filled. The circumstance does not get you down. Through it, you have a peace and joy no one can shake. It is a knowing that their is hope at the end of your trial, you will see yourself through this struggle and come out of it a better person. Joy is active, it require us to put something into it. Joy is also about putting yourself last, the y in joy.

Because it is active, lets work on it this month. We could all use more joy in our lives, especially this time of year.

The joy of giving
To start us off, the joy of giving. We are all challenged to give to those less fortunate this time of year. There are many organizations to give to those in need. One of my favorites is Toys for Tots, I come from a family of Marines. Choose somewhere your family can help out this Christmas season. But, instead of just giving and not thinking about it, talk about it as a family. Ponder on your own what you have given to someone else. So you can see or your children can see, the direct impact of your giving, maybe help out at a shelter, a nursing home, somewhere people are neglected and need some joy. 

How did this make you feel? Are you more joy filled? Did you realize how much you have and what to be more thankful and joy filled about? Do you feel more joyful from having given to others? How has this changed your life? 

Saving the world one stick of butter at a time.
God's many blessing,