Monday, November 12

My daily battle for joy

I wrote this one October evening in my garage after I arrived home... just finally getting it up here on the blog, while I count gifts, count blessings, give thanks, and fight for joy.


The seasons are changing, they've already changed and I can feel the blues settling in right next to the cold down to my bones, down to my soul. It's pressing me down and I dread the winter. And I know I need to give thanks, even in this.

I take my son to karate one evening. It's getting dark earlier and if there is one thing I can't stand, it's driving in the dark. I feel my neck tighten, my shoulders contract and my back spasms. My eyes keep blinking, somehow assuming that I might be able to see better if I try harder. Twice in the outskirts of my high beams, I see the reflection of the deer's eyes in the farmer's fields and I give thanks in safety on the country roads and find joy in God's protection.

I read Ann's post---why the battle for joy is really worth it (twice) and I sob, literally tears streaming down my face. While I don't remember consistent anger or yelling in my past, it has seeped into my present and I don't want to leave this legacy for my kids. I snap, I shout, I cry, I ask for forgiveness. I keep fighting for joy, fighting to give thanks.

Maybe that's why Thanksgiving is this time of year; when the season's change and we have less light and the depression takes root. A reminder to continually give thanks to THE LIGHT, see His gifts and fight to find the joy, then share the joy.

and so I keep counting and I start another gratitude/gladitude journal and I pick up the JoyDare sheets again and I count, count, count... just keep counting (I'm just gonna post October thanks here, I'll be back with November next week).

891. blog posts from Ann Voskamp that make me cry... and keep counting
892. wind chimes
893. pumpkin spice coffee
894. thistles... that remind me of my mom

895. sleeping in
896. reading to my kids
897. a deer in the back field... at just the right time (it could be a whole nother blog post)

898. "tumbleweeds" from the boys
899. hug, kiss and a smile from my 6YO in the morning (she's not a morning person)
900. a thunderstorm
901. a bluebird out my porch window

902. French toast made with Texas toast
903. special order for a handmade birthday card

904. sharing a coffee with Wes
905. date night (Shakespeare play @BBC)
906. FREE Fun Day for community at church
907. hayrides, jugglers
908. laundromats
909. ice packs for aching backs
910. the power of healing prayers
911. finishing a project
912. pumpkins

913. Bible reading
914. actually completing house chores
915. warm sunny fall day
916. "Bob the Tomato" in the BBC pond

917. ombre colored trees

918. fresh highlights and a haircut
919. rain
920. family pictures... in said rain (by the fantastical Daniel Lanton)

921. lasagna soup/ fresh bread
922. writing class
923. laughter
924. friends that tell it to me straight
925. kids and "grand prix" cars and races

926. leaves dancing across the road

ALLUME THANKS (927-955) (no photos here, I will get some up in my recap post... someday)
enjoying a road trip with Donna
meeting online friends IN REAL LIFE
hearing "Bob the Tomato"
writing on voice
hearing others sharing their words
enjoying Avodah coffee
comfy pajamas
extravagant meals
amazing speakers, sharing their hearts
"The message, no matter what we write about is Jesus Christ, crucified" (@kjtanner)
time spent in the prayer room at Allume
open mic night in the (in)courage lounge

encouragement from Debi, Zohary, Katherine and so many others
silly moments, crazy moments
small may be big enough (@ProBlogger)
Monty Python reference (and re-enactment) with Logan
"Your target customer may not be you!" (@GussySews)
meeting Ann Voskamp ---she's a great hugger!

Saying goodbye with prayers to real friends
Seeing Jesus with skin on
safety in travels
welcome home hugs from my kids
being home again
pizza takeout with friends
a hot shower
being in Wes' arms again
anticipating a day off for kids

Giving thanks in the midst of Hurricane Sandy (956-982)
sleeping in
scrambled eggs for the kids
not losing power all day
grace, every day grace
protection in the storm
family Monopoly game
trip to Starbucks, Target, Perkins (for coffee, light, a hot meal)
extra blankets on beds
showers and laundry at a friend's house
cheese quesadillas for lunch
sharing tears with my dad (via phone)
provision of housing and meals -post Sandy
a college dorm adventure for the kids
library books
"reverse" trick-or-treating (bag of candy for my kids)

my daughter eating chocolate cake without a fork... the reminder to "Lose the Fork" and feast on Jesus
movie theater popcorn
free meals at the college while we were without power
snuggling with my girls during a movie matinee
internet access
free cappuccino from the Underground Cafe
childcare allowing me an hour of quiet
comfy pajamas
smiling all day long
fellowship with neighbors in lounge
redoing Five Minute Friday - Roots

stopping there for now... something tells me that I've reached 1000 in this month of November and I will be sure to share them with you soon! :)


  1. I think the thing I like most about writing them down is going back and looking at them.... Remembrances of things past.. sweet melancholy for drab fall days! Glad you are back home and safe and have power and water! N

  2. beautiful hymn of praise to our good to meet you, my friend!!!

  3. Oh this was beautiful. I love the way you worded it and I felt it in my soul. The knowing. And I think having Thanksgiving right now is such a blessing as well!!!

  4. I love how you turned that creeping darkness on its ear!! This left me with a big smile and a warm heart. It was so good to hug the flesh on your bones and laugh and talk in more than 140 characters. You'll always be my pen sister.

  5. I think you bring up a good point, that Thanksgiving might be situated just at the right time of year when we need it most! Love your thoughts, pictures and gratitude list, Julie. Oh, and I love pumpkin spice coffee and ombre colored trees too. :)

  6. I know the fight for joy well. Battling depression makes the battle quite hard sometimes for me. Thanks for being real and transparent. These pictures are beautiful!

  7. Oh Julie..I'm late reading this but Oh how beautiful, honest,and real! I love the thought of Thanksgiving being a gift to a darkening season! ♥


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