Joyness Journal: Thursday

Today, it has been even harder to find joy.

I took this picture in the parking lot after a storm. 

It’s not a boring day; it’s been stressful and frustrating. Mainly because for one of my classes, our assignment for the week doesn’t make any sense. No one really understands what we’re supposed to do, but we’re not getting any answers and it’s due Saturday and Sunday. And most of all, for my Adobe InDesign class today, I opened the program prepared to export my project as a PDF and turn it in, only to find that all my numerous copies had completely vanished, including my workspaces and preferences. It was as if I’d never used the program before. I’ve already gotten a few gray hairs and driven Brian crazy with all the frustrations I’ve had with the program, but after hours of labor my project was done, only to be sucked into the black hole of technological errors. To make it worse, the help desk was not being very helpful! I got the run-around, and then the issue was submitted as a “case” for a group to work on, and they replied:

Summary:
      user “my files” missing
Solution:
      The user’s AFS volume was created on 9-Aug-2010, and there is no evidence that files have ever been stored in the directory since its creation (nothing in backups). There is no system problem for us to resolve.
Your support case has been resolved. If you are still experiencing difficulty, please call us at (480) 965-6500 or send an email tohelpdesk@asu.edu to re-open the case

So, it’s back to the drawing board. I admit, I cried quite a bit over it. Like, grabbed a box of tissues and lay on the bed and wept. This is the second time I’ve had to re-create the whole thing, because the first time I was stupid and wasn’t saving it, and I joggled the computer and  unplugged it. Maybe it will just get better with every re-do!

There is something to be happy about though: I emailed my professor right away, and she made an exception for me and extended the due date. I really, really appreciate that. It’s teachers like that that make college bearable.

Then on the way home from work, Brian called me with some news. They’re moving him to a different position, “temporarily.” Basically, they’re desperate and need a shop foreman. He’ll have to get up at 4:30 and stay till 4:00 p.m. Brian was very close to completing a project that the company had been waiting on for quite a while, and they took that away from him and gave it to someone else. I started crying all over again, and for the first time since we moved, I wanted to go back to Iowa.

But, after Brian got home and we talked about it some more, I’ve come to the conclusion that it could be a really neat opportunity for him. He is intuitively good at managing, and exceptionally good at interpersonal relationships, which is exactly what the shop needs. He doesn’t have the required 5 years of experience, but he works very hard and learns quickly. So, we’ll see how it goes!

So, joy. I think this week has been a test of my resolve to find joy every day. I haven’t given up yet! Here’s a few more for today:

  • Yesterday I discovered that Blogger has a “Stats” tab, right up with “Monetize,” that tracks how many people look at your blog, how they found it, and what posts they viewed. Not in a creepy way, like all I know is that 35 people viewed my blog today by following my facebook link, and if I was really interested, I could see what country they were from and what operating system they used. I was blown away by how many people view my blog! That is really encouraging to me, even though I know it’s not all about the numbers
  • My mother-in-law helped me get my wedding pictures ordered today! 
  • Last night I registered online at Better Homes and Gardens, and I’m still in awe at the sheer volume of decorating ideas. I could makeover my lamp in 50 different ways!
  • Today I get to pack to go to California tomorrow! 
I might not post tomorrow since we’re leaving early in the afternoon. I’ll try, but in case I don’t, have a joy filled Labor Day! Any fun plans? 

Joyness Journal: Wednesday

Today so far it has been a little harder to be joyful, mainly because it’s been a rather boring day. But,

  •  I did get a phone call from my Mother-in-law 
  • And an email from Melanie of  Elegant Custom Blogs with the first beta edition of my new blog design!
  • I’m almost done with the laundry for this week
  • I will get my wedding pictures ordered very soon
  • It’s a gorgeous day outside; not too hot
  • It’s September! Hooray for fall and cooler weather!
  • I’m going to be receiving my tax rebate soon
  • Brian is not gone at work all day today!
  • I cannot wait to go to California this weekend and visit my sister-in-law!
In my Bible reading today I started Philippians 1. In verses 3-6 Paul writes:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

The whole chapter has  a focus on joy, joy in all circumstances, even imprisonment. I spent some time today reflecting on the above verses and thinking of people I remember with joy. I came up with a list:

My Bible study leaders- Nikki from Campus Crusade, Kim from North Myrtle Beach summer project, and Sabrina from Campus Baptist Church.

 For most of the time, I was the only one besides the co-leader attending the Bible study Nikki led in my dorm building, and I sometimes wondered if she was going to cancel it and decide it wasn’t worth it. She never did, and I learned so much as we studied Ephesians together. That Bible study was a blast, we always had so much fun sharing stories and just talking, and she always made treats of some sort. I learned a lot from watching Nikki about how to lead a Bible study and how to evangelize in a very natural and understanding way. Nikki didn’t seem much older than college aged, she was really good at relating in a way that wasn’t motherly but mentoring.

Kim was also on staff with Campus Crusade, but from a different college. Kim was so much fun! She was full of energy and laughter, but was very sensitive and thoughtful too. She had a huge heart for prayer and missions, and that definitely passed on to me and the girls in our apartment. She was awesome at one on one discipleship, and she inspired me to lead a Bible study and disciple others. She prepared me well to take over the Bible study and discipleship of the other girls. We were all thrilled when her boyfriend proposed to her on the beach. Throwing her a surprise bachelorette party was one of the highlights of the summer, and we all missed her terribly when the staff left.

Sabrina has been inspirational to me as long as I’ve known her. She was probably the first person to welcome Brian and me into Cyclone Bible Fellowship. I looked forward to Bible study with her every week my freshman year, and discipleship my sophomore year. Her insight and wisdom never ceased to amaze me, and our discipleship times especially helped to prepare me for marriage. She was so willing to serve around CBF, and so open and real. I miss her a lot, so I’m glad she has a blog so I can kind-of keep up with her :).

I can think of sooooooooooo many others too I’d love to mention, but I’ll just have to save it for another post!


Who are some people you remember with joy?

Joyness Journal: Tuesday

I love flowers! I’m glad there are quite a few flowering bushes around our apartment. I cut a few stems yesterday and put them in some vases around the house. Every time I walk into one of these rooms it makes me smile.

 They really brighten the house and give it a fresh and homey feel. Flowers are proven to help people relax and boost moods. Studies show that when someone is in an elevator holding flowers, the other people who get on are more likely to talk to each other and be friendly. Someone did a study on it, I know I read that in a reliable source. 
At the Park
I had a great time today; Brian was going to be gone all day since the CEO is visiting and taking the management all out for dinner, and it wasn’t worth making the drive from the West side to the East and back again. So, I decided to take Honormommy up on her suggestion, and gave her a call. We and the kids went to Taco Bell and a playground, before going to their house, putting two of the four down for naps, and breaking out the scrapbooking. I didn’t get too far because I left all my stickers and tags, and after a recent scare when I thought I’d lost all my childhood pictures, I really wanted to scan these before doing too much to them. I also realized how rusty I am at scrapbooking! But I am very thankful for the conversations we had and the time out of the house and being craft-y. 
To The Rescue
What brought you joy today?

The Search for Joy

It’s almost too ironic: after a week when I’ve been very worried and stressed, Pastor Joel Tetreau preaches on anxiety and worry. After a difficult week when I’ve been particularly frustrated, disgruntled and sorry for myself, he teaches on Joy. Funny how that works!

But it’s definitely to my benefit. Like me, you may have heard before that JOY stands for “Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.” Simple, but true, and very hard to live. You may not have heard this (I’m quoting from the handout):

  • Joy is a by-product of “Living in Christ.” Sometimes Joy is “felt” as a gift from the Holy Spirit (Phil. 1:3, 5,10, Gal. 5:22, Ps. 4:7)
  • Joy is a tool for “Living in Christ.” (Sometimes Joy is not “felt” but determined based on the facts of our faith, not the feelings of our faith.)
I thought the second point was aimed right at me. I tend to focus  A LOT on my feelings, not on what I know to be true by faith. I tend to forget the John 13:17 principle I talked about some before, where right thinking leads to right doing, and then it’s followed by right feeling. 

“The crossroads for many believers is this. Satan has stolen their joy using the same technique he did on Adam and Eve. First, he built up “unfair expectations” toward God and others. Second, he tempted (and succeeded) Eve and then Adam in not being content. Notice the result when this happens: You loose Joy, You find Sin (or it finds you!)” 

The above quote really caught my attention. I’d definitely built up some unfair expectations of God and Brian, and felt let down and discontent as a result. And as I wrote on the side of my paper, according to Psalm 16:11, we don’t have any excuse for not being joyful. We like to tell ourselves that we can’t be joyful because of _______. Maybe our marital status, job, finances, health issues, etc. But Psalm 16:11 says: “You make known to me the path of life:  in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” If we are God’s children, we have God’s presence with us always! We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, and God promises never to leave or forsake us. 

I made a lot of excuses for why I wasn’t joyful last weekend. In fact, even Sunday afternoon, I was back at it.  I’d written Brian an email the night before with all the things I’d wanted to express all week when I didn’t think he was listening, so we went to our complex’s pool after Sunday lunch for some couple’s time. Brian finally told me that he had a hard time wanting to listen to me because I’m “always negative about everything.” Despite the superlatives, there was some truth to the statement. I shot back: “Well, I had a really hard week! It’s easy for you to be positive! You get to leave and go to work every day, where you have friends and everyone likes you. I’m stuck here all day by myself with lots of dirty dishes and laundry!”

We had a good talk I think, and it clarified for me that I was just not being content with where God has me right now. Sometimes I feel stuck…not stuck as in I wish I were single, but stuck at home doing school until Brian gets home, fixing dinner, cleaning up, and going to bed, day after day after day. After all the frenzy of school where I actually had to go to campus, involvement with our college group, teaching a Bible study, wedding planning, the wedding, honeymoon, and move, this seems really boring! I’m ready for another adventure! 

But I think I’m beginning to see God’s plan for this time of inactivity. I got way too busy for a while there, and I was neglecting the most important thing: spending one on one time with God, really listening and learning and  worshiping. I think I’m “stuck” so that I can learn to be still and appreciate who God is

And so, this week I’m going to be looking for joy. I’m going to pay closer attention to the everyday things that God has blessed me with. Every day (hopefully) this week I’ll post something that brings me joy. I’m going to focus on the positives and delight in the simple things of life. 

Do you have joy? Often, seldom, or never? What’s keeping you from experiencing joy? What brings you joy?

Thrifty Thursday’s Fun Finds

You know, there was once a time when I didn’t enjoy shopping. I found it tedious, frustrating, and time consuming. And then I discovered the adrenaline rush that accompanies getting a good deal. The thrill of thriftiness, the excitement of the hunt, the serotonin burst from a steal of a deal…it’s addicting, and I’m a total junkie.

Thursday night after Brian got off work we did a little “toy” shopping. We went to Harbor Freight Tools for Brian’s, and Michael’s for mine. We each had some spending money and coupons. Harbor Freight sells all kinds of tools and other manly things at discounted prices, and when you bring in the coupon insert from the paper, it’s almost ridiculous how much you save. We may have Michael’s in Iowa, but all I remember is Hobby Lobby and Joanne’s Fabrics, so for those of you who don’t know, Michael’s is right along those lines. This week all my favorite things were on sale: scrapbooking paper, albums, picture frames, canvas, and acrylic paints.

We went to Harbor Freight first, and Brian picked out a cordless drill and flashlight set for $18.99, a multimeter for $2.50, an angle grinder for $14.99, a drill bit set for $7.99, and a screw driver set for $7.99.

Then we went to Michaels. My goal was to get some wedding themed scrapbooking supplies, so we looked through the on sale paper and picked out whatever seemed to be kind of romantic, mostly Valentine’s Day themed stuff, and a lot of other paper I can use in my other scrapbooks. In the clearance bins, I found a scrapbook paper box for $5. I’ve been needing one for a long long time! 

 
Here’s the screwdriver set, Brian got it for me 🙂 And we also bought sandpaper for my future painting projects. 
Then we looked through the stickers- my favorite thing about scrapbooking! Unfortunately, scrapbooking stickers are really expensive! We picked out the best priced ones we could find, when Brian saw a wedding scrapbook kit, album and all! We used the 40% off coupon and got it for $30! And we put back all the Valentine’s Day paper and wedding stickers. 

I can’t wait to get started! If I make any really good layouts, I’ll be sure to share them with you. 
What projects are you looking forward to tackling? Did you have any thrifty finds this week? 

Rainstorm

Yesterday, it started raining while the sun was still shining. 
The phenomenon brought out our neighbors. We stood on the porch and enjoyed the cool breeze.
Then it really started pouring.
I tried to capture the rain as it landed, but it didn’t turn out, as you can see. 
This picture did! 
I don’t think I’ve seen any houses with gutters here in AZ.
 As a result, it puddled up on the ground right away. AZ has clay ground, so water doesn’t absorb well.
 
There’s the sunshine again!

What Not to Write

To those who voiced your concerns about my blog, thank you! I’m sure it wasn’t easy, and I know you had the very best intentions. Your concerns have been duly noted, and you will see that the offending posts have been removed. Your comments were very correct, and in the future I will be sure that all my posts are previewed and not written at times when my critical thinking skills are compromised, such as late at night or early morning, and I’ll remember that not just my followers are reading, obviously, since those of you who voiced concerns are not followers. And I will strive to make all my posts edifying and encouraging.
While I really appreciate your input, in the future I’d appreciate it if you’d give it to me, instead of to my mother-in-law. While I agree that she is a great mediator, it’s unfair to her, and I think it’s Biblical and logical to contact me. My email is not hard to find, and you can actually leave comments directly on the blog where I’ll be sure to see them.

Got it at Goodwill!

I’ve been hoping for a mirror just like this! $5.99
So cute! I don’t know if it works or not, but I love the face and the rugged wood. $2.99
This lantern has room for candles inside! I’m still working on cleaning it up. I cleaned the gunk off of all the glass panes, and polished the  outside until it glows, but inside along the bottom it’s caked with a black grime that is really hard to get off. $2.99

This fabric had a purple tab, so it was 50% off. I think it used to be a curtain valance. It has a lovely sheen! I’m not sure what I’ll use it for yet. $1.50
Off to the side there you can see the mystery object from yesterday. It’s a really cute little planter! It has butterflies on it, so I had to get it 🙂 $4.99
My favorite find 🙂 I can’t wait to find a plant to put in the basket! I’m going to put this by the fireplace. I just love it! It looks great with the clock and lantern too! $5.99 
Speaking of the fireplace…we stumbled across this slightly used set of cast iron fireplace tools! $9.99
I’ve already begun finding homes for my finds, but I’m running into a dilemma- the brown and gold versa the black and silver. I’m hoping to buy some spray paint, but I’m not sure I can bear to paint over the pretty wood and metal things. 
Have you found anything unexpected at your local thrift store? What’s your favorite thrifty find? 

More Fun Finds

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a couple hours exploring our neighborhood Goodwill. It was massive! They have a neat system there where all the tags are color coded and marked with a week number. When I was there, it was week 30, and so anything marked with week 30 and/or a purple tag was 50% off.

I was immediately drawn to the items displayed on top of the clothing racks. Then I noticed a whole section of the store designated for housewares. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of most of the items, the number of employees and restrooms, the cleanliness of the store, and the lack of weird odors that I’ve always associated with Goodwill.

Not everything was a crazy good deal. I thought $1.99 each was too much to ask for those classic coke bottles. But if you’re into the coke decor, it might be worth it to you. They also had six packs of coke with the coke still inside for $12.99.

I did like this jar. I thought it was pretty unique and in great condition. They’re asking $23 for it, so it might be worth getting when it’s 50% off. I think it would look great in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. I’m going for a French Country look myself.

I found this beautiful pillow case and was very tempted to get it, but it really doesn’t match anything I have. It’s edged with satin ruffles and pink velvet ribbon, and the flower is embellished with sequins. It fits a small decorative pillow.  

There was so much fabric! I wanted to buy it all up and make dozens of pillows, or place mats, or curtains, or seat cushions, or table runners…I have all kinds of ideas! I found this cute shabby chic rose fabric and striped red, cream and sage fabric to match. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but there’s a cute ruffle edge on the rose fabric. My pictures didn’t turn out very well because I felt really self-conscious about taking pictures in a store with people around!

Then I found these pillows that matched the shabby chic rose theme! I later found a matching bed-skirt.

I like this pillow- the design is modern and elegant. The fabric was in pretty good shape too. I figured I could wait until it’s on sale though. 

They had a wonderful selection of pictures. Original paintings, prints, photographs, all kinds. Some I wanted to buy just for the frames. I put this in my cart, and took it out, and put it back, and struggled to make up my mind. I LOVE coffee, and this watercolor is so cute! But, I decided to stick to my French Country theme. I might get it later though if it’s still there. 

This is my find of the day. it’s a print of French restaurants (I think, my French is very limited!). I love it! It’s so cute, and in perfect condition. I kind of wish I’d bought it, but I decided to wait for the sale week. I really, really hope it’s still there. It’s perfect for my dining room! If anyone is decorating a nursery or a child’s room, they probably have what you’re looking for. They had several sets of matching pictures with butterflies and lady bugs or elephants and giraffes and the like.

 I saw this little bulletin board and thought of two little princesses I know. It needs a minor repair, but I could easily fix it with stuff I have already, and it only costs $5 or so. I think it’s on sale next week or the week after that. 

Oh the shoes!!! Cute, cute, cute. This was about the only pair that fit me, and I had a hard time putting them back. I’m not sure what I’d wear with them, but they are so classic. They were probably donated by someone’s grandma.They had some nice pairs of really classic black pumps in perfect condition, and lots of stylish sandals. I saw a couple other pairs I wish I’d taken pictures of, some really retro shoes in perfect condition, and several by STEVE MADDEN! Sadly, they were all to big for me, or I would have snapped those up quick! They had some nice pairs of really classic black pumps in perfect condition, and lots of stylish sandals. 
Well, I don’t want to write a book here, so I’ll leave you with one picture of something I actually bought…
…And I’ll tell you next time what it is! 🙂 
I start school tomorrow, so I’m going to try my best to make and stick to a good schedule that allows me to get my school work, house work, and Brian time in along with my blogging. Shouldn’t be too hard if I keep getting up at 4:30 a.m!