My friend, Sarah Markley had an amazing idea. She has decided to spend the month of December finding 100 ways that she finds joy. The small, the sorrowful, what can look ordinary yet bring loads of joy.
I have decided to join her.
I'll be spending the month of December intentionally looking and writing about things that bring me joy. :)
So here it goes, 100 ways I find joy.
Sarah started December 1st, but I start today.
I spent my morning on the train. I boarded an Amtrak bus at 0625, and was able to board my train to Fresno, CA around 1030. I don't have morning classes, and so usually miss the emerging of the sun into the sky. However, I was awestruck as to how beautiful mornings are. Amazed at how new the day is, and how amazing it is to witness light enter the sky. It reminded me of hope, how there is hope to be seen every morning .
I arrived in Fresno, and was met by two amazing individuals who spent a part of their day showing me Fresno City College and Fresno State so that I might make an informed decision if I believe I am being led to InterVarsity staff. I spent the day hearing about InterVarsity's long legacy in Fresno, and how it has changed over the years. I found myself laughing easily while spending time with Rob and Layla, feeling comfortable to share my story with them.
Later, was the most anticipated moment. Seeing the Minturns. This family is a strong reason why I feel so grounded in Fresno. This family has seen me since my first day in Fresno back in 2008, when I was highly insecure yet excited to see what God was doing in the city and in me. Todd was actually the first person who had more than a two sentence conversation with me that day.
And as I expected, as I saw them, they hugged me and welcomed me as I knew they would. Seeing Todd, Carrie and the boys is always wonderful, but this felt like coming home.
It felt normal.
Dinner, playing with the kiddos, catching up on life and talking about what the future could look like... family.
Two minutes after entering the door, my hand was taken by a hand much smaller than mine, to see the Christmas tree, and the candy cane lights that had just been put up. :)
However, my favorite part was watching Todd read to the boys. He was reading Pete the Cat ...the book has a song integrated to it, to which the boys giggle hysterically. Hearing them giggle and seeing their joy... priceless .
I loved that Todd decided to sit me down on the couch and ask me open-ended questions so that I could process what had happened since I arrived on the train (the day had been FULL). I love that Carrie sat down and listened as prepared for Advent. Again, it felt normal .
Breakfast. I've never been too much of a breakfast person, but I wanted to make use of my time with the Minturns. Oatmeal, frozen Gogurt, orange juice. A grumpy 4 year old. Family. :)
I drove around with Todd, to get myself re-acclimated with Fresno. He showed me the most amazing thing. Christmas Tree Lane! It's an 88 year tradition, where an entire street, for blocks on end, decorate their houses for folks to drive (or walk) by to celebrate Christmas. They even have a radio station that you can tune into as you drive through it! The decorations were amazing, I couldn't believe half of them, they were epic.
(Seriously, Google it.)
Later, I got to talk to the Executive Director from FIFUL to just share more of what I'm thinking, feeling, answer my questions. I continue to be amazed at how much people care. They're praying, emailing me, texting me to make sure I know they've got my back .
As I had lunch with Carrie, I realized how wonderful it is to be able to share life with Carrie. To learn from her life, share her story and be spoken Truth by her...wonderful.
It has also been incredible to watch her family. To watch the way Todd and Carrie love their boys, how completely they love them, it's hopeful. Hopeful to know that although a family story like mine is common, it's not the only one out there. And although I've only been here for slightly longer than 24 hours, parts of my heart are healing just by watching them be a family .
Where do you find joy?