Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Joys of November

November is just the best month, isn't it? Well, next to December, that is. I love November because it is just full of thankful vibes. 

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family, despite the fact that many of us were sick. I had fun decorating the table for the first time! We had a wonderful meal and even got a family picture, thanks to one of our friends.

I'm so thankful that two of my brothers, who have bronchitis and pneumonia, are finally getting better!

In November, I also passed my oral defense. If you don't know what that is, I'm not surprised! In the physical therapy program, we have to write a final project and then we have an oral defense where we present our case study and then are grilled on it! It was pretty stressful but I'm so glad to be done with that! One step closer to graduation. 

Also in November, Daniel and I invited people over for a "Run for the Everlasting Cure" event. Run for the Everlasting Cure is basically a day of prayer that our church honors around the world. We make an attempt to get together and pray and walk. We had a brunch, followed by prayer and a very rainy walk.

Lastly, I enjoyed a Gilmore Girls party with my girlfriends, complete with macaroni and cheese, Chinese, pizza bites, burgers, fries, coffee, poptarts, and ice cream. The food and company were great, but the show was horrible, IMHO. What did you think of GG? 

Oh yeah, and Daniel and I had pictures taken by Savannah Hayes photography, which we got back yesterday. I just love them! Don't worry, I limited myself to three so that I wouldn't seem overwhelmingly vain. 

As we head into December, I reflect once again on how thankful I am for my full and happy life! May your December be truly blessed. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What We're Thankful For

As we come into Thanksgiving, I set aside time to reflect on what I am thankful for. This year, Daniel and I both sat down together and made a list of the things with are thankful for, both big and small. Without further ado, our unedited lists...


// Being able to talk to God in prayer
// Marriage
// Family
// Medicine! (I'm sick.. )
// Pumpkins
// Fall leaves
// Embroidery
// Dear friendships
// Books
// The food on my table every day
// The ability to go to school so that I can do a job I really like
// Caffeine
// Ice cream
// Snail mail
// Date nights
// A cozy bed
// A warm home
// Our little house!
// Carmex
// Nail polish
// My strong legs to exercise with
// Workout videos on Youtube
// My car 
// My church family


// Danielle (daaaww I think he had to say that)
// Everything God has done for us
// My health
// My job
// Hope
// Friends and family
// Snow
// Beautiful scenery
// Horsepower 
// Tea or coffee in the morning
// Sleep 
// Lip balm
// Onions
// Sex (sorry family.) 
// Cool weather 

Some of these things might seem really silly, but they really can be the things that make life so great. What are you thankful for in this season of your life? 

Friday, November 18, 2016

4 Ways to Follow God Every Day

Though I claim to follow God, sometimes I find it hard to live that out every day in a practical way. What does it mean to follow God every day? Not just going to church, not just reading my Bible, not just writing about it. Following. 

I've come up with some practical ways that I can start experiencing God in my everyday life. 

1. Look for God in your everyday experiences. In fact, every meal you eat, every safe car drive you take, every blessing that comes into your life, comes from God. Don't take those things for granted, and don't forget to thank Him every day for those things. Be mindful of what is in your life and that each bit has been given. I believe that being thankful absolutely helps to experience God in a practical way. 

2. Begin the day by asking for His guidance. What if we started every day with a prayer, asking God to help guide our steps? It seems like an obvious thing to do, yet I rarely ever start my day this way. Don't jump out of bed first thing. Stay there. Pray. Ask God for His help for you to shine for Him. 

3. What would Jesus do? It's a cliche saying, but it can really help guide you. How would Jesus respond to this person? Would Jesus listen to this music? While it can seem overwhelming to constantly be comparing yourself with Jesus, it doesn't have to be! I find that the more I examine my life, the easier it is to make the right decision. Deep down, I want to be more like Jesus, even if it's hard. 

4. Don't make big decisions without prayer. Or really, little decisions either. I am SO guilty of not doing this. If I have a decision to make I ask everyone for their opinion, I make a list of pros and cons, I might even ask God to bless my decision. BUT I don't ask God to guide my decision! Asking God to help me make my decision is probably the number one thing I should be doing. 

What are the ways you follow God every day? 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hate Words

I wrote this post several years ago. I thought of it a few days ago and thought it was worth a re-share. The message still rings true, maybe moreso than ever.

The other day I was picking up Ava (one of the girls I nanny) from school.  I often wait for her by the front of the school, and there is an older man who often talks to me while I wait.  He has always been friendly and inquires about my day and my life.  When he approached me on this particular day, he asked me if I had watched the Superbowl and I told him that while I don’t care for football, I did love basketball.

He then told me that he couldn’t stand basketball and he only liked football a little.  Then he leaned close to me and whispered, “Too many blacks.  I can’t stand the way blacks act.”

WHAT?! I have never, ever heard someone say such a racist, disgusting thing in my life.  I honestly did not even comprehend what he was saying because I was so startled.  At that moment, his little granddaughter ran up to him and he picked her up in a big hug.  He called her a princess and asked her about her day.  He held her hand in his and took her backpack, walking to the car.

I stood there in absolute shock.  So many thoughts were racing through my head.  Just that day I had written a post about words and the power they have.  To my shame, I did not say anything powerful back to that man.  I still can’t figure out what I should have said in the face of such pure racism.  How do you respond in such a way as to make a difference without just using hate words back?


They have such power.  Power to build up, power to destroy.  The saying sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is not true at all.  Words hurt.  Because words reflect attitudes.  People will fill the boxes we make for them.  Whether our expectations bring them up or drag them down, others often fulfill the stereotypes we set for them.  That’s what is so wrong with our culture.  How will we ever break the hate cycle if we keep using hate words?  That man will pass on his attitudes to his granddaughter, who will pass it on to her friends, who will continue to pass it on.

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that a man who could be so sweet and caring to his little granddaughter could be so hateful toward an entire race.  I guess the point is that it isn’t just members of the Ku Klux Klan that hold these attitudes; it is people we know and see every day.  It isn’t because those people so evil and stupid that they believe a stereotype that simply isn’t true, it is because of the insidious way that those stereotypes are passed along.   Which is why it is so dangerous to us—stereotypes can become ingrained in us without us even realizing it.  If we look at a black person and believe that they will have “bad behavior” or a blonde girl and expect her to be dumb, that is what we will see.   We pass that on.  The hate continues. 

Think of how many times we have done the same, judging others before we know them.  Assuming things about them just because of who they are or what they look like.  We can’t change the world.  I don’t have the answers on how to stop the hate cycle.  But at least we can stop it in ourselves.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

God is Still God and God is Still Good

In the wake of the tense election, I think everyone is reeling a bit by the choices that have been made. I've seen Christians do two things: A) remind everyone that God rules in the kingdoms of men or B) ask why God would let this happen. I think it I were a non-believer, I'd be a little bit skeptical. Why would God let a guy like Trump be President? 

The answer is: I don't know. But last time I checked, God doesn't need to run things by me before they happen. And do you know what else? We might all be stunned by what happened, but God is not. 

This is what I do know. God did not choose Trump to be leader (or even Hillary, for that matter) because he is such a stand up guy and is going to turn America to God again. It might actually be surprising to some, but God's ultimate plan is not to "make America great again". God's plan is to bring HIS kingdom. 

His mercies are new every morning. 
Whether Trump will be the President that brings America to it's knees, I do not know. Whether he will be the President who will make the world so messed up that the Kingdom will come, I do not know. 

All I can say is that I know that Trump is simply another player in God's big plan. As Christians, whether we like Trump/Clinton should simply not matter. Trump is going to be President because God has put him there, and I won't question it. Do I love Trump? NO! Do I love Clinton? NO! But I absolutely love God's plan. 

This is what I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt: God is STILL God and God is still GOOD. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Bad Habit: Negativity

Even though my blog is called Pure Joy, I've always been a bit lot of a negative Nancy. Really, I am. It's one of the bad habits I talked about last week. Unfortunately, joy just doesn't always come naturally to me BUT I do as much as I can to change that aspect of myself. 

There is so much research and knowledge that having a negative attitude is not good for your health or your relationships. Having a negative perspective on life only creates more anxiety and worry. Not only that, but most people don't want to hang out with negative people. Just ask my poor husband. 

The good is that there is so much you can do to overcome negativity. For me, negative thoughts occur when things aren't going as well as I'd like. Say I get a bad grade on something, then I catastrophize and that one grade can send my life into a downward spiral. It might go something like this: This bad grade means that I will never be able to learn this material. Then, I won't be able graduate or pass my national exam. Then, I'll be jobless and will never be able to pay off my debt or make anything of myself. 

See how it goes? Negativity crops up and makes you feel so inferior. It takes the worst in every situation and makes it feel like reality. 

One way I've stopped this attitude in my life is to stop the thought and evaluate. In this case I might ask myself: 1) Do I really not know the material or is something else going on? Maybe I didn't understand the wording of the questions or I didn't study enough. 2) What is another way I can learn this material? 3) Hello! I can't know everything. Is this one section really going to keep me from being a great Physical Therapist? And the answer is... NO!

Negative people like myself tend to do a lot of catastrophizing and a lot of blaming. We predict that things are going to go from bad to worse. Everything becomes all or nothing. In these situations, I must bring myself back to reality. No blaming myself OR others. And then, I need to go a step beyond and bridge the gap to positivity! 

Positive thinking may not actually change a single event of your life. But it will change the whole course of your life and who you are. It will transform your relationships. Most people will love a positive person, provided that they aren't being fake. I really believe this is true, because it works for me when I focus on positivity. 

And honestly, when I try to focus on positivity, negative people can be just plain annoying. So I remind myself that I don't want to be like that. I want to be a person who spreads joy. 

So what's your bad habit? Any suggestions for helping me overcome mine?   

Friday, November 4, 2016

Breaking Bad Habits

This is not a post on habits about a TV show. 

We all have bad habits and I know for myself, bad habits can really hinder my walk in Christ. But habits are SO hard to break. I've done a little research (aka looked around Google for credible sources) and put together some of my favorite suggestions for breaking bad habits.

Replace your bad habits. 

This one comes straight from the Bible, where Jesus tells a parable in Luke 11 about if you cast out your demons (aka bad habits), they will come right back if you don't replace it with good habits. If I want to stop looking at Facebook so frequently, I don't sit around and twiddle my thumbs, wishing to be on Facebook. Instead, I find something positive to fill that space with.

Find a partner in crime good.

If you never tell anyone about the bad habit you are trying to break, who will hold you accountable? Going back to the Facebook example, if I tell my husband that I'm trying to waste less time on Facebook, you can bet he will harass me about it anytime I'm on Facebook. 

Confess your bad habit to God and pray for help in overcoming it. 

Sometimes, if I have a habit I am ashamed of, I pretend it's just not there. As if I can hide from God. I truly believe that if we confess our bad habits to God and REALLY seek for Him to help us overcome them, He will! He is a merciful God and He knows what is really in our hearts. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Choose good friends.

Ok, so we can definitely form bad habits WITHOUT the help of friends. But if we have friends who encourage us in our bad habits, we're really in a rough spot. If I have the kind of loyal friend who I can share my bad habits with AND they encourage me, it really helps to make a change in my life. Good friends point us in a good direction!

Do not be mislead: Bad company corrupts good character! 1 Corinthians 15:33 

So what are some other ways or Bible verses that you use to overcome bad habits? 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

More Tidbits to Change Your Attitude

I shared some of my favorite quotes and sayings already, but there are too many good ones out there. Here are some more sayings to change your attitude! 

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ugh, if only it weren't true! But if we don't live the life we claim we believe, people will see right through us. Talk the talk, walk the walk. It also reminds me that if people know that I am a Christian, they better be able to tell from how I live my life!

Those who are hardest to love, need it the most. Socrates

Ah, yes! Those people who are so difficult need our love. And often, they have a sad reason for why they are the way they are. Love them more. 

The more extravagant we are with our love, the less it's wasted. Bob Goff

I love the idea of being extravagant with love! Really, why not? It's not like you can ever love too much. 

Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got. 

That happens. People hurt us and never change. They never apologize, they never bring it up again, they move on. Instead of dwelling on it and letting it hurt you, it's better to move on. 

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate. 

Yes! Just do this, please. I'm so tired of hearing people go on and on about what they hate. I'd much rather spend my time talking and thinking about what I love. 

There is no pit so deep that God's love is not greater still. Corrie Ten Boom 

And for that, I'm so grateful. In my opinion, Corrie Ten Boom is one of the best examples who ever lived. She was an amazing woman and she definitely experienced very deep pits in her life! 

Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything. 

So let those things shine. 

Happy Wednesday, friends! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Joys of October

October is over, say what?!! October has been so awesomely awesome. We've been house-sitting most of the month, which has been great, but I'm looking forward to being at my own house again tomorrow! 

During the month of October, we have had a LOT of rain. Which has been awesome for California but not awesome for my being outdoors. 

Other awesome things in October are the food drive that our church put on. We went door to door in the neighborhoods around our church which was scary but also wonderful. And we got a ton of food! Even if it doesn't change anyone's life, I'm glad to have the opportunity to do good in the name of Jesus. If only we showed the love of Jesus to the world a little more. 

Another thing I've been doing a lot in October is embroidery! It's so fun and addicting. Sometimes, I just want to embroider my way through life. My friends and I have been meeting for weekly stitch club, which is just an afternoon of pure delight. 

School has been going well and I just took my LAST midterms EVER. If that's not exciting, I don't know what is. We went to a folk dance Halloween party last weekend, where we wore awesome matching costumes! I've never done a lot of costumes before so it was pretty fun to dress up!

My normal state with this crazy guy. 

How was your October?