What’s Happiness? What's JOY?

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What’s Happiness?

What’s Joy?

Donny and I recently made the 2.5 hour drive from Asheville, North Carolina to Blue Ridge, Georgia. Normally a scenic route along the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway, our drive was cloudy and smoky indeed from all the recent rain and flooding. In the passenger seat, I reminisced about our recent holiday season, considering the coming Christmas of dear friends who had a great loss in the past year.

An article posted recently by my friend, Mary K. gave me even more food for thought on this subject: 20 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Happy.

As the miles slipped by in the torrential rain, I thought about what brings me the most happiness and joy.

I came upon my usual, steadfast three:


Later, I ran across the following anonymous writing and it fit with my musings as we traveled last week:

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another.

Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough, and we’ll be more content when they are.

After that, we’re frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with.

We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage.

We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our partner gets his or her act together when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice holiday, when we retire.

The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than now. If not now, when?

Your life will always be filled with challenges.

It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway.

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. Alfred D. Souza

This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

So, treasure every moment that you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time…and remember that time waits for no one.

So, stop waiting until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until winter, until your song comes on, until you’ve had a drink…. there is no better time than now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Work like you don’t need money,

Love like you’ve never been hurt,

And dance like no one’s watching.



So what will bring us happiness and joy in 2018?  

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Pictured here are some of my favorite things from the past years.

But as you will soon see…”The best things in life aren’t things at all.”

The Reason for The Season
celebrating Jim’s birthday on 12/20/15
a Missouri map added to my bracelet from Walker and Jess
a tiger added to my bracelet by Leah and Scott
a copied poem and my “original art”
an unexpected gift from my friend, Susan F.
six out of eight of our FF group, friends since Fernbank Elementary
my dear friend, Kelly
GrandDaddy Page
my teaching companion , in Rio and dear friend, Deb
grands of our dear friends, The Carters
loving the resemblance between my sis, Kathy and our daughter
experience of JOY with these two on 11/14/15
brings me JOY knowing this ornament is now on another Page tree
thankful for Donna Kapper’s opportunity to give this bear a special journey….Read about this on an earlier post: “Tears To Teddy Bears”
service in a Santa Shop with my girl
fun with friends and family as David leads us in caroling
Oh my, love these West girls, whom I have known since “utero” : )
special friends, The Kramers, join us in our home
“sister sessions” with my three sisters every couple of months
33 years of marriage and still going strong…onward and upward…He makes me smile…
Our niece, Katie with her first-born, Noelle…Read more about our six 2014 babies in an earlier post: “Carve Your Name On Hearts”
~~~the memories of my parents are with me daily~~~
Cindy’s  Christmas Eve, story time legacy lives on even after they are grown
4 of us together at Krueger wedding
2015 Fourth of July in Barcelona
My big bro, John Wade and Jeanie…and Grandparents to this precious trio below
A three-way “Heart Huddle”-Walker Grands-all first borns, all born within four months of each other in 2014. Read more about them in my post “Carve Your Name On Hearts”.
women’s retreat May 2015
a rose in a vase at the Biltmore Inn
Tim and Ringer
a church in the distance as we traveled from NC to GA
my student in Rio, so excited to receive this brand new recorder
our awesome interpreters in Rio
friends in our home, Bonny and her daughter, Stacy
my sis, Laura Lea and Leah have a moment to catch up on a sunny Thanksgiving Day, 2015
My sis, Laura Lea plays “motor boat” with her new grandson, Roman
a Thanksgiving walk in the woods with 3 of my favorite people
Christmas Day 2015 with Mocha
“Great”-nephews, August and Noah
supporting Karl’s Kure
on mission in RIO
R and R at the lake
two of my favorite things: red geraniums and Gracie
these college friends since 1976 have brought so much sunshine into my life
Walker and Jessica, Summer 2015
Scott and Leah, Summer 2015
FRIENDS are a gift!
Thank goodness Donny and Gracie know how to relax!
Psalm 113:3 “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.” Lamentations 3:22-23 “His compassion for us never fails and his mercies are new every morning.”
People are made of stories, not atoms.

Posts You May Have Missed:

My Own Little World: What If There’s A Bigger Picture

Speak Life

It Is Well With My Soul

Peace Like A River

Fertile Prayers

Wrestling and Seeking

Authentic Prayer

Run To The Roar




What Memories Are On Your Tree? Don't You Love Each and Every Ornament?

This whimsical Santa was a gift from our long-time friends, The Carters in 2000.

We’ve been admiring this beautiful Frazier Fir, we recently bought from Calvary Children’s Home, with its shining white IMG_7758lights, for a week now. Though it is already festive, I guess it is time to place some ornaments on its boughs. As we complete the decorating of our 2015 tree, as always, memories come flooding in, one-by-one as we hang particular ornaments on the Christmas tree. What memories are on your tree? I feel sure you have some tender, heart-felt ones of your own and I hope this post will encourage you to take some time to reflect on them as you deck the halls in your home.

Some may be breakable, while some may be made of paper. Some may be handmade, while some were found at Hallmark.  Many were picked up and personalized year after year and are now on our grown children’s trees. All represent precious moments and memories that will stay with us forever.

I’ve selected a few to share with you.



In 1982, Grant Lovelace. a fifth grader in my class in 1982, gave this PAGE ball to me. I can still see his excited face as he watched me unwrap his gift engraved with my new last name…a name change from just a couple of months earlier! Walker and Jess now hang this keepsake on their tree.IMG_7794

This one shows Donny and Leah attending a Preschool Angel Breakfast when she was just four. Now she is twenty-seven and married.

I’ve always loved putting this slipper on our tree, a gift from a teacher friend of mine at Avondale Elementary. Carol Barrett and I worked together several years before I became pregnant with Leah and moved too far away to continue working with the many friends I had made at Avondale! The slipper celebrates our first-born in 1988. Now the slipper adorns Leah and Scott’s tree.


IMG_7800This tree ornament was a gift from our friends up the street, the B’s, in 1991 when our family was a family of three. Even though I was due in February of the next year, I was great with child when we received this one.

Ornaments are a great way to remember travel adventures from our past.



Remember Grover!?! Poor Grover got his nose bitten off by our golden retriever, Riley, and the children laughed and laughed. Their giggles will echo in my heart forever.

Some ornaments, like these we made when our children were small will remind us of how much our loved ones have grown.

Check out an earlier post with great ideas of homemade gifts. Click here.


IMG_7793 IMG_7792 IMG_7790 IMG_7789Baby Jesus in the manger was one of the countless handmade ornaments the children made at either church or school as they grew.

And the cool camping tent was a gift from our dear friend, Sara to help us recall the fun time we had camping out on their land that was adjacent to Kennesaw Mountain.

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IMG_7803December of 2005, my friend, John gave me this in honor and memory of his wife and my dear friend, Jil who passed away suddenly on August 5, 2005 at the age of 40. She loved collecting these stunning Swarovski keepsake Christmas ornaments. You can read more about Jil by clicking here.

When our children were married in 2014, I took time to separate out ornaments from our collection to enable them to begin to build their own family collection.

Now that both Leah and Walker have homes of their own, a good number of our keepsake ornaments have been passed onto them to enjoy for the years ahead. We hope the stories will continue to be told for generations to come.

Leah and Scott’s tree in Marietta, Georgia
Walker and Jessica’s tree in St. Louis, Missouri

Click on the following links to read some 2014 Christmas posts which you may have missed:

Christmas Cards

Two Christmas Trees: Remembering Our Mothers

The “W” In Christmas

What memories are on your tree?