Tag Archives: Joy

Emotional Rollercoaster? There’s an Exit.


I’ll never forget my first rollercoaster ride. Neither will my sister, Michele—my unfortunate companion.

Poor Michele. She, who even at ten years old loved rollercoasters, didn’t know that during our hour-long wait in line, my second thoughts were multiplying. This was my first rollercoaster, and I was beginning to think this wasn’t such a great idea. By the time we were being seated, I was truly afraid.

As we pulled the lapbar down from above, I remember saying, “Why am I doing this? I want to get off.” But it was too late; we were already chugging up that first incline for the first drop.

Emotions are a little like roller coasters, aren’t they? Up and down and looping around. Even as you’re going up, you find your stomach bracing for the coming plunge. And that’s on the good days.

Then there are the really scary days when the coaster takes us upside down, and we feel like we’re turning inside out. Sometimes we get stuck spiraling through loops of anxiety, depression, anger, or other emotions from which we fear we’ll never escape. Continue reading

Where to Find Joy


The first time I found poison ivy, I was looking for something entirely different—a ring, to be exact.

My dad had just purchased an eighty-acre apple orchard in tremendous need of cultivation and care (which is a generous way of saying it was neglected and run down), and our family was in the process of moving there. At the time of this incident, we were staying at the orchard for a few days.

The trees were in full bloom with petals already dropping, making a gorgeous canopy of white flowers above with a white carpet beneath. To a twelve-year-old city girl, this orchard idea seemed quaint and romantic. It was the perfect setting for a walk of the sort Anne of Green Gables would have taken, and I probably imagined myself her while I walked up and down the rows of apple trees absentmindedly pulling my ring up and down my finger. Continue reading

I Will Hope: 13 Practical Ways to Choose Hope


Hope is a noun and a verb. It is what we have, and it is what we do. We who know the Lord already have hope, but we must also choose hope.

I recently did a Bible study on the word hope, and I was amazed at what I found. With 121 verses with this word (and 12 more verses when you add forms of the word), hope is all throughout Scripture. I prepared a Sunday school lesson from the study, and I had to leave out more verses than I could include!

Through my study, I compiled a list of thirteen practical ways we can choose hope. Continue reading

Book Review: Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss


On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your gratitude? If you had asked me this spring, I probably would have rated mine about a 8.2.

But then I read Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Through this book the Lord worked in my heart to show me how ingratitude had worked its way into my life in ways I had not recognized. Subtle expectations I hadn’t identified and buried pride surfaced.

As the subtitle suggests, this book connects the dots between gratitude and Christian joy. I already knew the two are related, but I was challenged through the book to recognize specifically on what points they connect—namely humility and an outward focus.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in ourselves—even in our service to others—that we become burdened and inward focused. Choosing Gratitude highlights how effective gratitude is to usher us into the presence of God. It enables us to break away from ourselves and renew our joy.

Even today, as I flip back through the book to reread my highlights, I was challenged anew. Here are a few: Continue reading

The Best Part of the Trip

If you like to make frequent stops, plan long sightseeing excursions, and visit area friends or friends of friends, please don’t travel with me.

If you would like a leisurely trip with a full scrapbook at the end, travel with my sister Michele. Health needs and back pain have made her a great scenic traveler…besides the fact that she’s just better at enjoying the journey than I am.

Ask Michele the best part of a trip, and she’ll answer “the journey.”

Ask me? “Destination, for sure!”

Sometimes Michele and I have traveled together. Often, in fact. Those were memorable trips. Continue reading

Petes and Repeats

When I was little enough to be dumb, my uncle (who is just three years older than me) asked me a riddle:

“Pete and Repeat went down to the lake. Pete fell in, so who was left?”

The answer seemed so obvious, I couldn’t believe Scott thought this was a riddle.


“Okay, Pete and….”

Would you believe, it took me about three rounds of this to figure out what was going on?! And once I caught on, I thought it was so clever that I tried it on others, too. Unfortunately, no one else ever fell for it. Continue reading

Real Reasons to Rejoice

You can’t get much plainer than Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”

But do we?

Do we just punctuate our conversations with “praise the Lord”? Or do we really praise Him?

In Christ, we find unlimited reasons to rejoice. Should we look to find joy in our circumstances, we sometimes could…and sometimes couldn’t. But should we choose to find our joy in the Lord, we will always have reason to rejoice. To rejoice is a choice, and to rejoice in the Lord should be one of the most spontaneous habits for the child of God!

But yesterday, I woke up knowing that I was going to need to make special effort to rejoice, so I set a challenge for myself. Since I knew that there are an infinite number of reasons to rejoice in the Lord (because His attributes and blessings are infinite), I determined to specifically name just one hundred. I wanted a measurable way to choose to rejoice, and I wanted a definite challenge to keep at it all day long. Continue reading