Joie De Vivre

Our first flowers of Spring 2021

Joie de vivre….French for the “joy of living.” A cheerful enjoyment of life, an exultation of the spirit. Cheerfulness, joyfulness, exuberance, liveliness, enthusiasm.

After writing yesterday’s post on Carpe diem, seize the day, the phrase joie de vivre instantly popped into my mind. I have been thinking on it ever since….how do I find that joy of living again? That exuberance, energy, enthusiasm that I haven’t seen in myself for a few months? That “Yay! It’s a new day….let’s go!” feeling I had as a kid when all was new and bright and wonderful. I don’t know about you, but I miss that feeling.

It is much easier to have joie de vivre when things are going well. When there is no stress, no day to day troubles that creep up, no chronic pain or disease, no family troubles. But everyone I talk to and know of is going through some pretty major trouble these days. And that should be no surprise, because Jesus said in Matthew, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” But it’s hard to walk through these troubles all the time and keep my face from staying in the permafrown.

I have by no means figured this out, but here are some of my thoughts and my pep talk to myself on attaining joy amidst trouble:

Take heart.….He has overcome the world. Jesus gives us the key right here. He has conquered this world. There is something more, something beyond these troubles. Eternal life with Him with no sickness, no sadness, no death. Praise and beauty and goodness forever. “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” – Habakkuk 3:17-18

Focus on the love and others. The more I think about my problems, the bigger they loom. If I try my best to be there and listen and empathize with others, I instantly feel better. My church is big on cooking for others in need….I am a horrible cook, so I save everyone the stomachache and send encouraging cards when I can. Or call. I don’t do this as much as I should, but it really helps take your mind off your own problems.

-Sometimes though, the helping and listening to others can weigh me down. I tend to take on everyone else’s problems too much, and my mind whirls around trying to figure out how to fix everything. That’s when I need to go outside, and focus on nature, God’s creation. A tree, a bird, a flower, the wind…..anything that reminds me that God alone is in charge of all these problems.

-Find someone you love and hug them. A good, long hug that lets them know you are there and that you need them. Your spouse, your child, your pet, a friend. I feel my stress just melt away, and the joy of life return.

Laugh. As much as you can. I especially enjoy laughing at myself, not in a mean way, but in a “wow, that was awesome” kind of way. It really helps me not take things too seriously, which I tend to do.

Eat healthy delicious foods you love and make your body feel good. Enjoy each bite and look forward to the meal. I am absolutely crazy about breakfast. And a delicious two egg omelet with swiss cheese, topped with a bit of salsa. I look forward to that breakfast every morning.

Find the exercise that you are able to physically do. I have a disability that now prevents me taking the long walks I used to, but I have a lovely NuStep machine that I can pedal on to get those natural endorphins flowing. Dancing, hiking, running, stretching…whatever you can do and enjoy. Joy of life.

Music, music, music. Listen, sing, move, play an instrument. Best medicine ever and instantly fills me with joy.

Be creative. God has designed us in His image, which means He has designed us to be creative. Art, music, dance, inventions, film, photography, healing, cooking, gardening, design…..the list goes on and on. Even if you can’t be creative for a living, find a few moments in your day to do something that feeds your soul.

Rest when you need it. I am a big fan of sleep….I get rather giddy every night at bedtime and the thought of resting my tired body on that lovely memory foam. 😉 Sometimes the pressures and troubles of this life are too much for me to have energy to do anything on the above list, and I just need to rest for a while. And that’s ok. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Pray and know the Savior of the world. This is the most important thing I have ever found that brings joy, so it has to be first and last on this list. Deep, lasting joy that does not go away based on circumstance. Jesus came to earth for me, died on the cross to pay for all my sins, and came to life again after three days in the tomb. He wants a relationship with me, and is always there to listen and to care and to give me hope. Joy, hope, future, redemption……joie de vivre.

Writing all this down has encouraged my heart this morning, and I pray it helps someone else as well. I would love to hear your thoughts on joyful living in days of stress.

Love, Lisa

Portmagee, Co. Kerry

I have had a lovely morning of remembering. A musician and teacher from Cahersiveen, Ireland contacted me about the story behind “The Sheep of Portmagee,” a song I wrote in 2012, and for permission to include the lyrics in a local collection of songs about the area.

This was a quirky song I wrote, giving human feelings and adventures to said sheep. I used the Irish traditional “Gilderoy” for the tune.

What a wonderful three weeks it was…..it is great to remember good things on a cold, rainy day. Love, Lisa

Reencaheragh
Local sheep
Pormagee

True Confessions of Pandemic Endeavors

Ok, I am a little late on the bandwagon, but the first months of the pandemic had me rather stunned. Like a small rabbit who is scared, I just sat, stayed very still, and waited for it to hopefully pass quickly.

The months passed, and by May, I did something I said I would never, ever do. I went and bought houseplants! Any houseplant that had ever had the misfortune of crossing our threshold before COVID19 met its untimely death shortly thereafter. But….I was overcome with the urge for green living things in our home, even if it would be just a temporary gladness. Miracle of miracles…..all seven of them are still alive at this writing. Even poor little Niamh, our African violet. (Yes, we named them all. 🙂 ) She is not looking too grand, but I have great faith that she will pull through…..just make it to the springtime!

We then passed into the “let’s try to cook from scratch” phase, which is another thing that I am the very worst at. Let’s just say….that phase has passed, sadly for my long-suffering husband. We are back to the “walking to the refrigerator/freezer stage, holding the doors open for far too long, whilst we pray for something amazing, different, and easy to present itself for dinner.”

I also decided about summer time 2020 that I needed to learn new things, to stimulate my languishing/stressed out brain. Enter Duolingo Russian. All was going well until I needed to type Cyrillic on my nonCyrillic keyboard, use much copy/pasting from a Russian typing site, and you guessed it….it’s over. I have now decided that Swedish might be the way to go, but I will keep you posted. haha

I keep toying with the idea of learning to sew on a real sewing machine. But I have no sewing machine, and seeing the above patterns of my language learning and cooking, I have no desire to see an expensive purchase sit around my house unused. Any of you sew out there? How hard is it to learn how to use the machine from a YouTube video? (I think I just answered my own question. lol)

Anyway…..just wanted to document this Pandemic journey a bit. To talk about what is the elephant in the room for all of us.

Thankfully, God has made us to be creative creatures, like He is. He will keep us going, day by day, until this time in our history has passed. Enjoy whatever is keeping you interested today.

Write below…..tell me what has been your best/worst pandemic endeavors and experiments.

Love, Lisa

Just Give It Time

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I am choosing to share this hilariously bad photograph of myself standing in an abandoned church during a downpour in Cong, Ireland. Why? Because I think a lot of us are feeling like this lately. Fed up, wet, miserable, sick of whatever it is we are going through at the time. And my lovely husband thankfully caught one of those moments on camera. 🙂

This is the same day, the same me, just about 10 minutes later.

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Amazingly, the day had turned around. I was in a warm, dry cafe with the smell of fresh bread and soup wafting from the kitchen. We had just seen the John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara Quiet Man statue on our way into the cafe. And I was glad we were there, in Ireland, in the rain.

We sometimes just need to wait a few moments, or a few days, or a few months. Just give it time. This too shall pass.

Love, Lisa

Joy in the Midst

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This is one of very favorite pictures of my husband and me.

What you see:  Laughter, happiness, joy, beauty of the Slieve League cliffs in Donegal.

What you also see:  our new acquaintance’s thumb, which showed up in every single photo he took of us, until we were all beside ourselves with laughter.

What you don’t see:  a walking cane that took me from point A to point B, the pain of walking that it took to get to that photo taking spot, my husband’s stress from lovingly taking such good care to get me to this spot.

And this is why I love it.  In pain, in hard times, in difficulties, there can be great joy.  There can be great beauty.  Great strength.  Great determination.  Great hope.

And a Great God over it all.

I am glad to be back, sharing with you all.  God is doing a new thing in my heart, and renewing my spirit.  Let me hear from you!  I have missed you.  Love, Lisa