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

Limitless Imagination

Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla

“To shut your eyes is to travel.” – Emily Dickinson

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney

I am so thankful for my imagination. It provides endless entertainment, thoughts, and travel. Imagination is not bound by the body’s constraints, monetary concerns, or COVID19 restrictions.

Books can fuel the imagination, as do movies set in wonderful locales. Even looking outside my window and noticing what my local yard birds are doing, provide endless “scope for imagination.” (Anne of Green Gables 🙂 ) Listening to their tweeting on this wintery, icy morning gets me imagining the conversation and the plan they have to find food and warmth. Maybe they are plotting a trip to a Florida beach as I type this. 🙂

As the weekend comes, I will be traveling and adventuring. In my imagination for now, and hopefully in reality in the months to come.

Love, Lisa

Please feel free to comment below and share your imaginings, your dream travel locations, your favorite travel memories….anything. We can share them together.

Time for Me to Fly

Anguilla, 2013
Dune Preserve, Anguilla, 2013
Happy warm bird relaxing in the Bahamas, Ed Lyons photo

I am thinking about birds this morning. They migrate for two reasons….to escape cold weather and to find food. Both of these sound great to me. 🙂 They are born with an amazing God-given instinct to know where to fly, how to get there, how to protect themselves. They also do not have to worry about COVID19, or taking PCR tests to travel, or quarantining. 🙂

And as we await yet another winter storm of snow and ice here in Virginia, I am wishing to be a bird! 🙂 I think I would soar right down to Anguilla in the Caribbean, and stay until April.

Also, I am praying for any of you who might be out of power and heat right now. Praying for quick restoration of power and protection for all of you.

In the meantime, I will be doing a lot of imaginary time traveling over here. Feel free to join me.

Love, Lisa

Counting the Shades of Green

County Antrim
Near Portmagee, Co. Kerry
Springtime in Virginia

How many shades of green can you count?

This is officially the time of year for me when I yearn for greens, for yellows, for color. So I look at our photographs, and remind myself that, yes, spring is coming.

It’s almost here….hang on. 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