What does it mean to have joy? Is it the same as happiness? Some people have put it in the same category. As long as we are happy then we are joyful right?
What is supposed to make us happy? People? Places? Things? I am sure you have your own list of happiness bandaids that you can fill in the blanks with that you go to in order to make yourself feel better in a time of crisis. I started thinking recently about what it would take for another person to say that I was a joyful person. That requires me to really dig deep inside myself and change a lot of my actions towards my family and people I encounter daily. I do not think that joy is the same as happiness and that is where a lot of people tend to get mixed up. Looking at the people that I look up to for living a joyful life I really had to think about it and found one person. That person inspires me to be hopeful in the future and being present in the moment.
What does living a joyful life look like to you? What are qualities in people that you know that you think resemble joy? Is joy the same as happiness?
A Sunday thought.
When my youngest son was born he was a month early. On the day we were packing up our boxes to move from California to NYC I was 34 weeks and started having major back pain. After he came via emergency c-section I somehow knew he would be my little heart ache.
Ever since then we have been back to the ER and urgent care with him more than anyone else in the family. This week in preparation for Lent I was trying out different recipes and what do you know turns out this little man has a severe allergy to cashews.
As his body and face began to rapidly swell up I knew I had to act fast. The nurse in me had to think quick because I know first hand what happens in these situation if people don’t act quickly. Off into the car I put him race as fast as I can to our local urgent care, they don’t even check me in and just rush me and my son to the back so he can get his Epinephrine shot and steroids. He is shaking at this point. I know he will be ok but it is still hard to see my own son like this.
A few moments later the storm has passed. He just wants to be held by his mama and I am so thankful so this moment. There we were again yet another stay for 6 hours in the hospital for monitoring to make sure he dosent react again. I had a lot of time to think about life during that time and could not stop thinking about timing. If only my husband wasn’t home and I didn’t have help what would I do? If I couldn’t get him there fast enough what would have happened. If he had an allergic reaction again during the night what would I do?
I started being so thankful for small moments again. Those kisses I am able to give him again in the morning, thankful for my husband being there for me and being my backbone. Thankful for my community getting that Epi pen for us when it was going to be too expensive for us. Thankful.
It is the small things folks. What are you most thankful for today?
Just wanted to share our homeschooling week. We did a lot of stories and art and baking. My oldest son is getting better at baking and also measuring things. He really enjoys the stories that we read from Tell me a Story book and molding with our beeswax. These past 2 weeks we read the Polar Bear story and also the Do what you can do story from the same book. They are very simple stories but he absolutely loves them.
Right now we have our own thing we are doing but hopefully next year we are going to do the Waldorf Essentials curriculum. Seminary life can be so hectic and the schedule for Lent is not an easy one so we are most likely going to be choosing one story a week and base our art and baking on that till the end of the semester. We still are doing our co op however I notice that it is harder to do with people that have a different philosophy about homeschooling than yourself. Mostly right now it is for the social aspect of things. Which brings me to ponder on school in general and how in the future I might just be a lot happier with a social gathering, not a co op gathering. Maybe even start a Waldorf co op?
For the rest of our time we did a lot of playing outside with doing what boys do best. Answering the question of how dirty can we get?
Lots of building…
First signs of spring but it seems way too soon so our poems and stories range back and forth about the cold and warmer weather.
As for me a friend gave me a wonderful book to read about parenting from an Orthodox writer. I liked it a lot because it goes along with the peaceful parenting philosophy, which to me is encouraging since half the time I wonder if this whole philosophy works.
My husband is doing the March for Life in our nations capital so I get some time for myself.
We have a Feast coming up next week for the Meeting in the Temple so I am doing the Good Shepherd presentation for that which I will post about.
Sometimes it is hard for us to see if we do any good to people by our small actions. A smile, a kind word, a thank you, a calm response. They all matter. I was recently reminded of this while drinking tea.
A monk on Mt Athos at the Russian monastery they visited reached up and grabbed a branch from a tree and said to my husband, “give this to your wife so she can put it in her tea and feel as if she has been here.” I did not think much of this until recently while I was battling my own thoughts on if what I do actually matters to others. Parenting is not a glorified job, let’s just face it most of the time kids do not use kindness as a way of getting what they want. So here I am taking out my branch and tearing off the leaf to put into my tea when I start to wonder if that monk ever dealt with these thoughts.
Everyone struggles in some way, weather with thoughts about worthlessness or pride, in the end we are called to do good. That is what that monk did. He does not know what this small branch means to me. He does not know if I will ever use it or toss it. He just did a good deed from his heart.
That act of kindness really did turn my whole battle into perspective. I will never meet this young monk since women are not allowed on the Holy Mountain, but as I drink my tea I do feel a little more appreciated that someone that doesn’t know me at all wanted to give me this small gift.
Well this week has been hectic with my husband coming back from Mt. Athos and the semester starting again it has been a busy bee hive. After living life as a single mother for 3 weeks, my respect for single mothers or military wives has increased tremendously. How do they do it? Go power mamas!
What did I learn while he was gone is still in the processing part of my brain. I do not know if I learned anything. I did try to take my good friend Matushkas advice and recognize this time as my own, which I did. I prayed more, had more coffee, more cookies and more friend time. In a way it’s hard to get used to the same routine again once he’s home. At this point the time alone was a real blessing. A chance to reconnect with my oldest son in a way I haven’t done in a while. A chance to do some soul searching to see what direction I would like to take my life into. A chance to be thankful most of all.
So back to homeschooling and play dates . With Lent fast approaching the semester will be over in no time.
Here I am again. Back after a long hiatus, one child added and a move to seminary for my husband to attend. I have decided once again to have what they call an “outlet” and start blogging again.
Adjusting to life with a brand new place and a new child and a new way of life has been difficult. But all of life seems to always be in some ways difficult right?
What I miss the most is taking pictures. There’s nothing like taking a good photo for me. Captures a moment forever and nowadays sends them off to blog space and your life will somehow be recorded in some way for people to relate to or look back on.
Yes this is my confession…