To observe. To let it sink in.
I am linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker today on Five Minute Friday. Take the prompt, write for five minutes flat. Link up with a community of fellow writers and experience the joy of sharing!
Today’s prompt JOY is one of my favorite words.
In this case I like the English language because it offers a variety of meanings for this sentiment.
Unlike German (where you only have one word ‘Freude’) in English you have joy and happiness.
And there’s a difference between these two, I believe.
Happiness might refer to this superficial excitement over fresh flowers, a present, or a quick smile for a friend. But as quickly as it comes over us it can also be gone. As quickly as our circumstances can bring happiness, they can also bring unhappiness. Bad weather, a sad phone call, disappointment.
Happiness often seems to be based on what happens.
Joy, on the other hand, goes much deeper.
It is independent from what happens around us.
It is planted deep inside of us, bringing forth light in the darkest hours, strength in weakness and rejoicing in the midst of tears.
Joy is a fruit of the holy spirit, planted inside of us and growing the more we take care of it.
When it is firmly rooted in our hearts no circumstances in the world can steal our joy.
The question is: What are we going for?
Do we strive for quick happiness, these superficial waves that come and go as quickly as we draw a breath?
Or do we take some time to seek joy, nurture it and experience its fruits especially in times when we need it the most?
Some people say we have no choices in life.
Everything is predestined and we just need to surrender to fate.
Some people say we have too many choices, they are overwhelmed by freedom and simply lost the ability to make choices.
I believe we have a lot of choices.
We can decide what we want to wear today.
Whether it’s toast or cereal for breakfast.
We can even decide not to get out of bed all day.
We can choose what career path to follow, who to marry, where to live.
Those are choices on the surface.
They might be most visible to the outside, but do they make up life?
I believe there are choices we need to make deep down, and they will navigate us on the stormy sea of life.
Everyday we hear a million voices, telling us about the world and ourselves.
Countless people seem to know who we are and what we need. The more we listen to one voice the more this truth becomes our own.
But is it who we really are?
It is so easy for lies to take roots in our searching souls, and it is so difficult to pull them out once they’re settled. Nevertheless, for every lie in your heart God has more than one powerful truth for you.
Everyday we are facing a tight schedule, an inbox full of emails, the decision what will come first.
Do I clean my house or do I meet a friend?
Do I work all day or do I find some time for a cup of tea?
Do I wake up in the morning and feel overwhelmed already by the business that awaits me during the day, or do I start off the day with seeking my Heavenly Father first, the provider of everything I need today and more?
Choose time. Choose people. Choose the important.
It’s Friday again, which mean I join many other amazing people over at Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday. Write for five minutes flat. No editing. Just words. And a great community.
I’ve written quite a few blog posts about this topic, and yet it is a reminder that I need again and again. Watch out for the small things (and people).
They can make a huge difference.
They can bless a truly horrible day.
They can lighten up a rather cloudy sky.
They can teach you about life.
A few small things and people I was blessed with in the past weeks…
…having a friend treat you to an afternoon out with great coffee and cake
…a little girl running towards you in church, giving you a kiss on the cheek and smiling just because you’re here
…my mom surprising me a day before my state board final exam, just to hang out, relax, massage and pray for me
…missing my bus, but realizing I am not in a hurry to go anywhere. The world does not end with missing one bus (even though we’re sometimes given that impression)
…receiving kind words, emails, texts to encourage you or “just thinking about you” notes
…skyping with long lost friends, hanging out for hours talking about nothing and everything
…waking up in the morning to the most beautiful sunny sky, or enjoying an amazing sunset from your kitchen window
All of these things are not extraordinary, super-over-the-top or organized. They just happened. They were small. And yet they fill me with gratitude and joy. And they remind me that my smallness can make a huge difference to someone else.
Watch out for the small things (and people). You never know the immense blessings they might bring to your life if you let them.
Five Minutes. Just writing, no editing. Sharing with lots of other great people around the globe. Over at Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday!
This week’s prompt is a bit of a challenge; I might have to start off with a confession: I am not a garden person. Every plant I ever had died sooner or later, since I forgot to water them, take care of them or didn’t realize what they needed.
Given this lack of gardening skills I am not sure I’ll have a garden later on.
Even though I’d want to.
Gardens are beautiful places.
I cannot help letting my mind wander off to the garden we had in Uganda.
A house surrounded by huge mango trees and casava plants. In between you’d also find a few passion fruit trees finding their way along house walls or other trees. And little islands with the most amazing and diverse flowers I had ever seen. I am really bad with names, but their colors were so bright, their shapes were so extraordinary. What a place to just lie in the grass and let your thoughts wander. Take a nap, while the sun warms your face.
This garden is a symbol for a few happy and carefree childhood days.
I go further to the garden we had around our farm in South Africa.
Peach and lemon trees stood around the little swimming pool, which provided a welcome refreshment on hot summer days. We spent countless hours taking the kids into the water, teaching them how to swim and having fun. I spent quite a few mornings there, with my guitar and my bible, to meet the Lord, to hear from him. My team leader would say this garden is her little piece of paradise where God would just speak.
This garden was a place for rest, for meeting the Lord. For letting him teach me about himself and the beautiful creation he has put me in.
In gardens we can see HIM at work. In the seeds that are planted and need a while to grow. In the little plants that slowly grow bigger and reveal their rich colors. In plants dying and finishing the cycle of life. And in the hands of a skilled gardener who tends to his plants, who prunes them so they can continue to grow, become stronger, and shine for their creator.
Aren’t we also a bit like that? And do we allow the master gardener to fulfill his work in us?
This prompt was given by Lisa-Jo Baker on her amazing blog. She also has a great garden project coming up in South Africa- you should check it out!
Normally, the prompts for Five Minute Friday concern how we see the world, what we think of certain ideas or how we could encourage people.
Well, today it is about what we actually do.
Why do I write?
I am a very busy person. Everyday I deal with different people, issues, topics, problems, places.
At night my head often spins and I sometimes worry I might go crazy over all of this. What if I forget something? What if I can’t figure this out?
My thoughts are full of people I still wanted to write to, friends I still wanted to call, errands I still have to run or just reflections on things that just happened.
It is very easy to get confused and lost in my own thoughts.
It is also very easy to feel overwhelmed by everything I still have to do (supposedly).
This is when writing comes in.
It has a certain power to bring order into my thoughts and my life.
It helps me to organize confusing schedules.
To express what I am really afraid of.
To confess my own messiness at times. To see clearly and prioritize well.
When I put running thoughts on paper they often miraculously turn into a clear and logical structure. Overwhelming thoughts become a bullet point on a piece of paper. They are there, but they are no longer able to overpower me.
To write is to conquer.
Writing has the power to speak and see the truth right in front of you. Black letters on a blank page or screen. Letters and words of truth. Of comfort. Of encouragement. Of readjusting my focus to a godly perspective.
To write is to speak truth into something or someone.
When I write I foremost speak to myself.
But in this little space of the internet I call my own I push some of my thoughts out of the nest and see if they can fly and speak to someone else as well.
It’s great fun writing with others – over at Lisa Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday Party!