How To Have Real, Lasting Joy {31 Days to Holistic, Christ Centered Living, Day #13}





All six of us get out in the bone-chilling, drizzling rain and deliver loaves of pumpkin bread to the neighbors the day after Christmas.

One lady who lives alone, she comes to the door of her trailer, peeps out and just simply says, “Bless you,” and she really means it, her eyes lighting up with a smile.

Other homes we stop at, there are still snow-tipped Christmas trees twinkling in living rooms, fires are blazing in fireplaces, and most are in warm flannel and gathered up to hearths as they invite us into the coziness shut away from the cold steady dripping. There is much hugging of necks, much loud visiting and laughter, much softening of hearts.

I know mine is pliable as putty at the moment.

I can only pray it will last.

At one home–our old pastor’s home–we linger a little too long in the doorway as we catch up on all that has transpired in the past year and hint a little awkwardly at the fact that we still love one another though we are no longer apart of the same church body.

The warmth that passes between us is obvious and overwhelming. We promise to get together for a field trip since we are both homeschooling mothers, and we hug and it is hard to close the door and leave because it’s like closing the door on a chapter of our life and relationships that blossomed from that time.





But we say goodbye knowing that one door closes so that another can open and relationships change with each coming new year.

As we drive home, after handing out the bread to hungry handshands of souls that just long for fellowship and someone to care {don’t we all come empty-handed to the Father’s table after all?},

after all that, our hearts are full.

I say to the girls, “Now wasn’t that fun?”

And I’m not pushing too hard, not trying to convince myself and them–my heart is filled to the brim and slipping over the edges and I’m really speaking from a place of abundance.

Maybe this is the key to real, lasting joy?

“That was fun,” says Mr. Simmons, in a soft baratone, and the girls nod their heads.

I’m simply thankful for this moment of sheer joy overflowing, all this fullness of grace spilling.

Gratitude:







#409 text from a friend saying she misses her running buddy

#410 a peaceful, imperfect–yes, but peaceful Advent

#411 a peaceful Christmas celebration with all the family





#412 a 4 mile run with my mother and sister on Christmas eve

#413 girl time and how we all love one another

#414 an amazing Christmas feast and how I think that there will be a lot of families, children even, alone on the streets during Christmas who only dream of such a feast

#415 being truly thankful for what I have and the resulting joy

#416 eating cookies for supper with my family as we watch Miracle On 34th Street–a day of doing things that we never do

#417 Lilly covered up head-to-toe in her puppy blanket, walking around in it, it trailing behind her and all we can see of her are her little hands peeping out and puppy ears bobbing as she toddles around

#418 Lilly in her blanket, pointing to the rocker, a sign that she wants to be held and rocked by Mama for a few moments before bed

#419 watching Little Women with my four daughters and my oldest looking at me when I tear up

#420 Christmas church service on Christmas morning

#421 being back in our church body on Christmas day and one special lady coming to me to hug my neck

#422 a note from a friend assuring me that there is nothing I can do to ever make her go away

#423 knowing that God has all under control

#424 feeling like there is a dawning on the horizon! relief! joy! a new beginning!

Join me at Ann’s for more thoughts on gratefulness to God?

and at L.L.’s place for quiet poetry and reflections?

2 thoughts on “How To Have Real, Lasting Joy {31 Days to Holistic, Christ Centered Living, Day #13}”

  1. Nacole, everything perfect – as always – the pictures – you're flowing prose – and my favorite thing were your last two thank you's. I sense a little bit of “happy” – a little bit of “settled”. I hope you get to hang onto it for a while. It makes me happy – to see you happy. God bless and keep you my friend.

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