Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea - How I am creating pockets of joy this summer

Last week found me in a not so pleasant mood as I started the van to drive to my doctor's clinic.  My insurance company was messing with my long term insulin again, even though the insurance stops at the end of June.  So my doctor had me picking up insulin from the clinic rather than changing it once again.

Our van radio is almost always set to K-Love or Moody and this time it was music from K-Love that immediately filled the vehicle as I drove down the gravel lane.  As I listened to faith building lyrics and beautiful melodies, I was just fine by the time I arrived at the clinic.

I am not prone to depression but a few years ago, there was a build up of... frustration?  I'm not sure what to call it but it certainly was an emotion that took away joy.  There were many things coming together to rob my joy and take away peace but I felt as if God was giving wisdom on how to come against it.  I even wrote a blog post once about decorating as a form of spiritual warfare!

Since then, I have learned to put in place activities I can do, places in the house I can go, and even just beauty I can look at to help in keeping joy in my heart.  They create an atmosphere of joy, much like the music did in the van on my way to the clinic.

There is rarely a day that a choice does not need to be made between fear and faith, forgiveness or remaining upset, not doing work at all or doing it tired, reading with less than good vision or not reading at all... living life imperfectly or not even trying.

I wish I can say that there are never times that I just give up and watch a movie but sometimes one has to stop and let the strength return. One cannot always will themselves joyful.  I thank God that I live in an age where good movie and television program options are available when needed. Good film art can take away my burdens, if only for a couple of hours.  Sometimes that is all the time that is needed.

A dear friend sent me several seasons of Vera CDs when I temporarily lost all sight in my right eye last summer and could not read at all.  I honestly felt like it kept depression from setting in, there is nothing I like better than a "who done it" to keep my mind off of troubles.  I am a big fan of Shetland and I had heard that Vera, based on books by the same author, was very good. Yes! It is great for those of us who like moody BBC mysteries.

I recently updated my podcast list* and kept only those that I know I will listen to this summer.  Which surprisingly includes Nigel Slater's Christmas Chronicles podcast that I didn't listen to last winter.  I had too many options on my podcast app and by paring them down to six or seven, I know I will listen to them.  If not each week, then most weeks.

Last night, I downloaded some half hour programs onto my very small Amazon Fire tablet.  I bought it a couple years ago when it was on sale for $29.00 and mainly use it to listen to music.  However, recently I added the podcast app to it, too, and I now have some favorite half hour programs that can be watched anywhere.  It is set up to bring joy.

Like most people, I have playlists of music available on my tablet but I have also created You Tube playlists.  Quite often they are favorite musicians but I also enjoy other types of videos when I can pay attention.  I always like to get suggestions, too.  A long time favorite is The Little Paris Kitchen, since those episodes are no longer shown on TV.

The computer I work on in the Study was given to us by one of my husband's best friends when he purchased a newer model and it came with the most amazing sound system speakers.  God provided above and beyond what was asked.  The music and video options on You Tube and various websites can fill the study with possibilities for feeling joy.

I have already written about little ways I have added possibilities for joy in my home.  Whenever I walk up to our front porch, I love the way the flowers and herbs provide a beautiful welcome. It didn't take a lot of time or energy and the cost was very reasonable to set up ahead of time a view that would make everyone smile.

If we stop to think what brings us joy and put in place snippets here and there, it will be more difficult for the enemy of our souls to bring us down when we are having a "bad day", concerned about a loved one, or just tired. 

Of course, it is in God's Word that we find true peace and joy and Bible studies are wonderful times alone or with others.  But how do I set myself up for that joy as I am going through my day?  What if I have already spent a long period of time in the Word but I need something extra.

I read where Ruth Graham kept her Bible open in her kitchen as she worked and would read a verse here and there when she had time.  She said it was surprising how the Word was able to speak to her that way.  I have always left my Bible in a place I could pick it up easily for prolonged reading but this summer, I'm leaving it open for those times I can read and then meditate deeply on one or two verses.

So I welcome you to also think of ways that you can set up your surroundings to let joy be found throughout the day (and peace, and faith, and love, etc.).    I'm certain there are many ways that I haven't even thought of but that come to your mind as you ponder the idea.

In a world where we are being inundated with opportunities to fear, become depressed, lose hope, lose joy... if we put some thought into it and plan ahead just a little, then we will be running into that which brings joy all day.

Because I Know You Will Ask  ;)
*My current podcast list includes: 
At Home With Sally (Sally Clarkson)
Out of the Ordinary with Christie Purifoy and Lisa Jo Baker
The Next Right Thing with Emily Freeman
Don't Starve Your Soul with Jani Ortlund
Speaking with Joy (Joy Clarkson)
The Briefing with Albert Mohler
Desiring God Messages by John Piper
Solid Joys Daily Devotional by Desiring God Ministries
The Christmas Chronicles with Nigel Slater

Right now I am listening to all the Jani Ortlund podcasts since it is new.  I plan to listen to all The Christmas Chronicles podcasts, there are not a lot and they are based on his wonderful book by the same title.  Otherwise, I don't necessarily listen to every podcast every time a new one is available.


Vee said...

All's right with the world... I may have missed a lot this week, but I have been able to read today and I am grateful. I think I can employ your use of planning ahead against depression or, in my case, illness with some of these ideas. I remember looking out my window watching a leaf blow in the wind for over an hour. It was a good use of an hour.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I love this. Planning ahead for snippets of joy. So good.

I didn’t know Jani Ortland had a podcast. I’m going to check that out. I follow Ray on Instagram.

You are encouraging and wise!

Praying about the insulin situation, too.

Morning's Minion said...

In my teens [so long ago!] I began to realize the need to construct bulwarks of comfort--the places, both physical and emotional/spiritual, where I could retreat for refreshment and solace.

Sherry said...

thank you for sharing your podcast list ..
you're right - i *was* going to ask. ;)
and for now though i've saved the youtube
for the little paris kitchen - beginning
with Boeuf Bourguignon WIth Baguette Dumplings.
open bible in the kitchen ..
such a revelation and one to put into practice.
hoping your day is filled to overflowing
with God's grace.

Raspberrysoda said...

What a lovely post, one of my philosophies (I have a bit too many) is just finding the simple pleasures and blessing in today, since tomorrow has enough trouble of its own. So finding joy in the now, is the best thing to do is just to appreciate the day God has given us.

Just enjoy the blessings we have now, and find joy in simple things.

Your post is lovely.

Homemaker' said...

I loved this post, Brenda. Thank you.

Lisa in Texas = ) said...

Great post! Creating joy around the home is a great idea- it really does help! I have a reading corner set up that I have always wanted and it brings me great joy just seeing it!
Lisa :O)

Kay said...

What a kindred spirit you are. I, too, make a conscience effort to surround myself with joy for those times of "It's so hard!." For years I have recited my life verse in the face of adversity. I stop and thank Father God for everything, all the time, but especially His provision and help, such as working cattle and they actually do what we want them to do.
I have my corner and my desk and my bathroom and my bed. All places that I can go for solace. Nightly I thank God again for all the ways He blessed me that day.
I'm not much of a decorator but I have a few spots that make me smile. Sometimes just the colors of the produce on my counter are joy-filling. Good smells, whether from my cooking or flowers or the defuser or my shower gel are a must.
I don't read depressing, sin-filled books anymore. Most of my favorites are authors or books you have suggested. And now I can add podcasts.
I rarely watch tv, but I do have some favorite YouTube channels I watch as well as listen to for music during the day at work. KLOVE on in the car and when I'm cleaning house.
And finally, I'm tactile so house at a comfortable temperature (I like it cool) and the "right" textiles. Crisp, cool sheets, but a comfy soft quilt or throw. Soft tees. Thick towels. Soft, thick throw rugs. All bring me joy.
And thank you for the suggestion of leaving my Bible open on the table. I have several Bibles but I may pick up an inexpensive one at the thrift store since it'll be in the kitchen and I'm a messy cook. :)
Thank you for this comforting post. Just thinking of my joys filled me up for the day.