Cultivating A Joyful Life | Willing To Try New Things

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Willing To Try New Things

As a group, we thrive on comfort and our version of ‘normal.’ We enjoy seeing the same people, doing the same things, eating the same food, and going the same places. After a long day, it is of great comfort to return to the same home, same peaceful activities, and same bedroom. Peace of mind comes with the knowledge that we’ve gotten the normal things we do done, and a day of that very same nature will be carried out tomorrow, too.

When we become comfortable with the things that make up our daily lives – job, family role, hobbies, etc – that’s a beautiful thing. I know how important it is for that to be a truth in our lives. Without that stability, we will find ourselves on shaky ground.

But how often do we learn about something new to us – an activity, challenge, recipe, even a restaurant – and we’re hesitant to try it, because we’d be stepping out of our comfort zone to do so? Normality is good for us, but in today’s post, I will be stressing the importance of taking the plunge of chasing after our personal pursuits: the art of being willing to try new things.

Hey everyone! I hope that you’re having a beautiful Wednesday. 🙂 ❤ It has been a while since I wrote a Cultivating A Joyful Life post, which is why I’m here with a new one to give you today! There are few things I enjoy writing more than this inspirational blog series, as it helps me to think through the things I pursue in life, as well as helping and motivating my readers. (I appreciate your feedback on these posts!)

Related Post: Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

As we are still in the first week of this fresh new year, I thought it would be a great time to write a post on pursuing new things in our lives. This could be a hobby, an activity in your community, a new dessert recipe that sounds really good to you – whatever first came to your mind when you read the title of this post.

For me, I have personally been experimenting with healthier eating and daily exercise for a few weeks, as I have neglected both of those practices for too long. The fear of injuring myself, as well as not quite knowing where to begin, hindered me from participating in anything more than the occasional walk. I enjoyed the healthy dinners my mom made, yet I never thought about making every meal I ate throughout the day healthy, as well. In mid-December, I realized that taking it a day at a time by learning more about health and fitness, what worked for my body, etc, I would feel great physically and emotionally. I am excited to be on this journey, and it finally felt like the right time in my life to start making healthy choices. Even though I thought for a while I’d never be confident enough to do so, the Lord gave me strength, and I’m so thankful that He did! ❤

If you have struggled with being open to trying new things in the past, fret not – I have been there many times myself. Whether it was the Lord’s timing, or I simply wasn’t ready, I’ve had it happened time and time again. There are always things that first appear insurmountable to us, for any number of reasons – money, our emotional state, how inspired we are – the list goes on. It isn’t always the right time to try something new, but there are ways you can motivate and inspire yourself to see if you are ready!

With this being the beginning of 2018, I’d like to invite you to try new things with me. The past is in the past – things you weren’t ready for then may be a possibility now. If it feels right for you now, this may be the year to begin. ❤

I would love to now take a look at the relevancy of this topic to the garden of our hearts.

As I mentioned previously, the familiar is a blessing to us. We’re used to how these situations, activities, and other things are, how they’re carried out, and so on. There are little to no surprises when it comes to these things. For a gardener, he will become accustomed to what his plants’ needs are, how long they live, which seasons they thrive in, etc – I’m sure that it’s tempting for many cultivating a garden to stick with the same plants for a long time. For some, this may be just what they want. However, change can be just as beautiful as that which is familiar.

With gardens, both figurative and literal, new plants (or hobbies and interests) will eventually become the familiar to us as we learn the practice and master the difficulties.


New Year’s resolutions are a touchy topic for many, as they work for some and not for others. However, there’s no denying that as one year draws to a close, we think about and potentially set out to do things differently in the new year. Whether we’re brushing up on something, continuing to work toward a long-standing goal, or we’re at the point where we’d love to try a new thing, the month of January is full of new beginnings.

Related Post: Staying Organized in 2018: Tips On Setting Goals for Yourself

I’m definitely feeling inspired with blogging right now, as well as continuing my health and fitness journey! However, I am content to go wherever the Lord leads me. 🙂

What are some things that you would love to try someday? And would they work in your life right now?

Some things are meant to happen at a certain time, while others will simply come to fruition when we are ready. There have been occasions where I thought I was 100% ready to tackle a new hobby or activity (even a certain of blog post!), but then, when I went to do it, things weren’t working out. Timing is everything, even if we are just simply not ready for it.

Observe your life as it is at the moment. Do you have the time, energy, inspiration, and maybe even funds to pursue this? Is there something else you should be doing instead? There are things that could probably wait, and some will last for a time and then fade away.

I know that when you stay optimistic and find joy in the little things in your life, new and old, you will be so happy!

Thank you so much for reading today’s post! I really enjoyed writing it, and I hope it can inspire you. 🙂

Let me know in the comments below:
What is something that YOU would love to try?

— Maggie

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Spending Our Time Wisely

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Spending Our Time Wisely

My favorite time of day is the early evening. That’s when I get to spend time relaxing in my room after eating dinner with my family. Don’t get me wrong; I love eating dinner with everyone, but clean-up takes a while, since there are six people eating, haha! Anyway, once I’ve finished helping in the kitchen and I get to retreat to my room, I enjoy browsing my phone, reading a good book, or working on something on the laptop.

Sometimes, however, these evenings aren’t as productive or enjoyable as I’d like them to be.

It can be hard to relax when there are so many things I’d enjoy doing, to the point where I can’t decide on just one. Switching back and forth between these things works out sometimes, but more often than not, I get much less done than I would have liked, because I did a small amount … of everything.

Do you ever feel like you have too many things filling your free time?

Hey guys! I hope that you’re all doing well. 🙂 I have a post to share with you today that is very relevant to my life, haha! For this part of my Cultivating A Joyful Life series, I will be talking about, as the title suggests, spending our time wisely. We all have hobbies, interests, and activities we love doing, and when we attempt to do too many at once, it can be hard to accomplish what we set out to do.

I have found that dedicating large amounts of time to one thing at a time, instead of dividing an hour or so up among five activities, gets much more done and feels better than the variety. Sometimes, it depends on the day, or the activities themselves, but I’ve noticed how this occurs again and again in many situations for me. Basing what I focus on depending on my mood and inspiration usually helps me, unless I want to accomplish too many tasks at once.

Read More: Cultivating A Joyful Life

How do you regularly spend your free time? Do you feel satisfied with what you’ve done afterward? Or do you feel like me – uncertain if how you’re spending your time is really worth it? I have so many things I love pursuing when I’m able to that I struggle to decide which ones I should do, for how long, and when. Let’s figure out how we can spend our free time wisely in today’s post! Before we go on to the rest of this post, however, I’d like to share how this topic, just like the rest in this series, deeply relates to the garden of our hearts.

To properly care for a garden, whether that’s a real or metaphorical one, you must evenly divide your attention among all of the plants. Some need more care than others, but as a whole, they all require sunlight, good soil, water, and enough individual space to flourish. If, at some point, there are so many plants that the caretaker struggles to evenly care for all the plantlife, it’s quite possible that some will get more than they need, and others will be left behind. Balancing our priorities is a very important aspect of our lives.

Cultivating A Joyful Life |
Spending Our Time Wisely

The funny thing about my hobbies and interests is that at any given time, I am extremely occupied, or very bored. This is because I either have one or two hobbies, or so many that I’ve lost count. I’m quite finicky with hobbies this way, to the point that I have too much time on my hands, or not enough. For the majority of 2017, I have had many pursuits, from language-learning to blogging, to piano-playing to story-writing, and learning to balance these things has taught me a lot.

If you are interested in figuring out how to prioritize more wisely like I am, check out the list below!

1. Write down two lists: one for your hobbies/interests, and another for things required of you. You could include all of the main things, or break them down into sub-categories. For example, if “blogging” was on your interests list, you could also add what that activity consists of, like “writing posts,” “reading posts,” “browsing Reader,” etc.

2. Number the hobbies/interests list by how much those things mean to you right now. I really need to make a list like this, too. Whether you number them in order of your enjoyment of those activities, or by how important they are in the grand scheme of things (i.e. learning Spanish or playing the piano will last longer than a blog post I could work on, lol), it’s totally up to you. 🙂

3. Make sure that you’re completing the things on your important list before moving on to what’s on your interest list. I live by the saying “work before play,” except for in the case of simply needing a mental break. I feel much more relaxed and apt to participate in my favorite activities after I have completed all of the things required of me. At this time in my life, that’s usually schoolwork, helping around the house, and being with my family. While I wouldn’t say that the latter one is ‘required’ of me, it is definitely something essential in my life. 🙂

4. Consider dropping the hobbies that are last to be numbered. There may be a reason they’re not high on your list of favorite things to do. If this is the case, maybe you aren’t as interested in it as you thought you were, or you could simply need a break. Definitely take that into consideration!

5. Work your free time around these lists. I wouldn’t advise practicing this strictly, as that could put unneeded pressure on yourself to spend your time one certain way. However, I know that with writing and numbering my hobbies and interests, and by choosing which I’d prefer to do in what order any given day, it would give me much more peace of mind. It is very satisfying when you know you’re getting things that you love to do done!


Thank you so much for reading, guys! This post has really helped me. I’m working on balancing what hobbies I participate in and when at this time in my life, and this addition to Cultivating A Joyful Life is a reflection of that. I hope you enjoyed it!

Let me know in the comments below:

How do YOU manage your time?

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Nourishing Our Mental Health

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Nourishing Our Mental Health

We have all had times like this. Life is going pretty well; we’re getting things done, enjoying our time, and just feeling happy overall. We have a nice routine and things to look forward to in the near future. For a while, we might not even realize how easily we have it off, and when we do, we’re extremely thankful and hope that it will last as long as it can.

But then, something changes. Just like every chapter of our life, something either eventually or quickly goes uphill or downhill, and there are times when life hits us extremely hard. Whenever this happens in my life, I become numb to normal routine and ways of feeling, and after a very short time, I struggle to remember the happy ways I used to feel.

How do you feel when life has you down?

Hey guys! I hope that you’re all doing well. ❤ I have a new Cultivating A Joyful Life post to share with you on this fine Wednesday 🙂 I began working on this post this past weekend after my mom got out of the hospital (if you want to read about what happened, visit this post). After a very long week, I was finally beginning to feel normal again, able to think more clearly and regain my normal positivity. Upon looking back at how that whole week made me feel, I decided to make two different lists on nourishing mental health. One list is for when life is good, and the other is for those times when we’re not sure if life will ever be ‘normal’ again.

Related Post: Cultivating A Joyful Life | Accepting Changes of Plan

I decided to make two lists instead of one because it is so important that we mentally care for ourselves, regardless of how we’re feeling. In one aspect, it seems more obvious that mental well-being is more important when we’re down, but this is an essential every day of our lives. I haven’t truly acknowledged this until now.

Would you like to come along on this journey with me? Let’s strive for a greater awareness of how we respond to life and care for ourselves, both when we’re happy, and when we’re sad. The first list is one I will turn to when I feel down emotionally, and the other I wish to bear in mind when life is beautiful. (Although, this journey called life is always beautiful, isn’t it? ❤ )

While writing this post, I began wondering if this topic relates to gardens. At first, I didn’t think it did, but then I realized that it does!

Picture this: if a gardener were to become distracted by a big problem in their life (whether in the garden, or outside of it), the plants he cultivates there would be bound to suffer. In the garden of our hearts, these plants represent all of the aspects that make up our lives – including our mental wellness. Without nourishing our minds, we cannot have a sound life. Let’s keep that in mind as we read the ten tips I have written below. ❤ I hope that this may bless you!

Cultivating A Joyful Life |
Nourishing Our Mental Health

When Life Has You Down

1. Remember the positive aspects of your life. This is a big slip-up of mine; I tend to focus so intently on the problem/s (as do most, if not all, people) that it becomes all that I see. There are SO many blessings still present in our lives when we’re going through something stressful. Even when it’s hard to see it, I know that this practice will be really helpful for me in the future.

2. Do simple, fun activities that you love. When I’m mentally overwhelmed, I appreciate spending the free time I have participating in exactly what I listed: very simple and enjoyable activities, things that I enjoy no matter how I’m feeling. This could be watching a video, playing a card game, going for a walk – something that does not take a lot of thought, but is fun nonetheless.

3. Continue to care for your body. It can be easy to let your normal care routine fall to the back of your mind when you’re preoccupied elsewhere, but I assure you, you will feel much, much better after taking a hot shower, eating a healthy breakfast, doing a yoga lesson – whatever you usually do that makes you feel good physically. One of the most important ways to continue feeling mentally well is to take care of your body.

4. Confide in family and friends. There are few things that help me more than talking about how I’m feeling and what’s on my mind with my family. The support system we have between all of us means that no one is left behind; if one of us is dealing with something, then everyone else becomes involved until that person is well again. It’s beautiful what our families and friends do for one another. ❤ It is especially important when we’re going through something; being there for each other is essential. 🙂

5. Focus on maintaining a positive outlook. Boy, I know that when I’m dealing with a rough time in my life, the last thing I do is expect the best. This is most likely why I find it hard to stay happy when dealing with something negative; if I only expect that everything will go wrong (which it never does, by the way), then I can’t even be joyful when things go right! I’m so worried about possible worst-case scenarios that I ruin my outlook. Practice this the next time you’re going through a rough time in your life. Hoping for the best changes everything. ❤

When Life is Good

1. Be mindful of how you feel and what you do when you’re content. I tend to flounder around during difficult seasons of my life because I forget what daily life was like when I was happy. Our minds usually grab the most negative things to dwell on, which means that when we’re down, remembrance of happier days is not within easy reach. When you’re doing well emotionally, I challenge you to take note of your feelings, responses, and actions – it may really help you when a hard time rolls back around!

2. Cultivate the relationships you have with friends and family. This is a good time to do this, because when we’re happy and mentally well, it is much easier to feel and react the same way to those we love. ❤ Go out of your way to show them kindness, spend extra time having a heartfelt conversation – whatever you feel your could do to make their day.

3. Appreciate the blessings in your life. From good health to stability to beautiful weather, it is all too easy to take things we have for granted. It’s crazy to me how our view of life can change in a matter of minutes when something suddenly alters or goes wrong. Something in our lives we didn’t even realize was a blessing is then out of our reach, and it is then that we can appreciate it. Learning to show gratitude for all things is something I desire to practice more often. (:

4. Work toward bettering your weaknesses. This is not a pursuit we can easily pursue when we’re not feeling well. (Except for in select cases, where the problem actually helps us accomplish this!) When I’m happy, this is much easier for me to focus on, such as being more graceful, forgiving, and kind.

5. Accomplish what makes you happy! To maintain this happiness, checking things off your to-do list and filling your days with enjoyable activities is an essential. ❤


I hope that this post has inspired you guys as much as it has inspired me! Nourishing our mental health is something very important to keep in mind (literally, haha) at all times. Some of the things I’ve listed above are things I myself need to work on. I didn’t share these lists because I’ve already mastered the art of mental care, in case you guys were wondering – I’m right there with you on this walk of life! Let’s practice these good habits together. ❤

Let me know in the comments below:

How do YOU care for your mental health?

I pray that you’re having a good week!

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Accepting Changes of Plan

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Accepting Changes of Plan

I love planning road trips. Having something to look forward to, getting everything packed and ready, then setting out with my family to have a nice adventure away from home together – it’s always so much fun.

However, with there being so many people to account for and get ready to leave the house, and the wide array of things that must be put in backpacks and coolers and bags, and with all the decisions that have to be made on where we’re going and how long we’ll stay … there is sometimes more tension than joy.

My response to the difficulties in these situations is impatience and irritation. Being ready before everyone else makes me anxious to go.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

What’s the best way to respond when things don’t go exactly as we plan – or exactly how we’d like for them to go?

Hi guys! I hope that you’re all having a great day. 🙂 ❤ Today’s post, as you can see, is an addition to Cultivating A Joyful Life! Just like with the other topics I have covered in this series, this is something that I truly need to work on, and I actually am in my life at the time of writing this post. ❤

Falling into bad habits is unfortunately easy, and struggling to accept when situations go a different way than we desire for them to is a definite problem of mine. However, because I have been able to acknowledge this, I am now walking down the path to healing, making so much progress along the way. ❤

Before we go on, I would like to share with you how this topic relates to a very similar one in the garden of our hearts.

I am not much of a gardener – funny, as I write this series pretty weekly, haha; I prefer to cultivate spiritual gardens, rather than real ones. Anyway, I am most certain that there are occasions in a gardener’s life when a plant does not grow, or it dies, or it’s attacked by bugs, which would all be unpleasant surprises. However, there can also be happy surprises. Maybe the plant bounces back, or does much better than the gardener thought it would; all sorts of things won’t go as “planned” in a garden! And the same is true in the garden of our hearts.

There are many things that we have control over (to a point). This provides us with security and peace of mind. But what happens when something turns out differently, or slightly worse? Chaos may ensue. It definitely depends on the person, specific situation, and other details involved.

Today, I have shared with you some helpful tips that I’ve come up with to help you guys, as well as myself, to take everything in stride – to be able to accept changes of plan. ❤ I hope that you enjoy!


Accepting Changes of Plan –
My 5 Tips for Greater Peace

Before we get into this, I would like for you to first, if you will, imagine a recurring situation you’ve encountered before – one that always tries your patience. Whatever this might be for you (for me, it’s road trip preparations), I’d like you to keep this in mind while you read my little tips below. Applying them to this area of trouble in the future could help you so much! I know that it will for me.

When a situation comes up that you weren’t expecting …

1 ~ See the positivity in it.

There are so many beautiful surprises that come about because of altered plans! Just because something isn’t happening exactly as you thought it would, doesn’t mean that it won’t be a greater situation for you in the long run.

Dare to see what awesome future situations might come about because of the little differences.

2 ~ Exhibit patience.

On many different occasions in my life, I have been the first one ready when we’re going on a family road trip. It has been difficult for me to exhibit patience over a situation when I feel like others (or I know) are lagging behind.

Whether we leave later than planned because someone didn’t realize how late it was, something took longer than they realized, or an emergency came up, etc, the intent isn’t at all to make me upset. Life happens, and some people are simply more time-conscious than others.

Patience is such an important attribute to possess, and it’s something I’m always working at strengthening.

3 ~ Be understanding.

Like I mentioned above, it’s easy to start judging or placing blame when plans are changed. However, something important to keep in mind is that nobody is perfect, and we all need a bit of understanding sometimes.

The funny thing is, I was the last one to be ready for the last trip we went on – meaning that I was running around the house while everyone waited for me in the car. I hadn’t realized how long it would take me to do my makeup and finish packing my bag, so there I was – in the same situation members of my family have been in before.

I deeply appreciated that they didn’t get upset at me (much like I have at them in the past…). That is something I want to remember; we’ve all been there, and we all deserve a bit of understanding.

4 ~ Look at the situation differently.

When something doesn’t go as I hoped it would in my life, one of the things that really helps me is to look at what’s happening in a different light. Just because you leave the house later than you meant to, or you get stuck in traffic, or stuck in a long checkout line at the store – there are often good, unforeseen reasons for things going differently than we think.

Even if nothing is obvious at first, look for the positivity in your current situation.

5 ~ Do the best you can to make things better.

On the occasions that I have been ready to leave the house first, I’ll usually pace around and mentally will (lol) everyone else to also get ready. This is not all that useful, as I could have spent that time helping someone get ready.

Even when something appears out of our control, there are still ways we can make things better for everyone – if even in the smallest of ways. So, in my recurring situations, I could help someone pack their bag, or package up all the snacks (which is my usual job for these trips, lol), or help with my baby sister, etc.

It may be that in your situation, you can’t actually do anything to help out. If that’s the case, you may be able to be emotional support. It’s definitely something to keep in mind, so that you and anyone else involved can be at peace. ❤


Thank you so much for reading! I know that the tips I’ve listed above will be a huge help to me in the future. Definitely let me know in the comments below:

How do YOU cope with changes of plan?

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Establishing A Heart of Gentleness

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Establishing A Heart of Gentleness

There have been many moments in my life when I have wished that my initial, natural response to situations could be described as gentle. When I picture someone who exhibits gentleness, I see someone who loves considerately, moves with grace and precision, and is easily likeable. I see someone who thinks through what they say and is consistently patient. You know who I’m seeing?

The person I want to be.

Do you want to be gentle, too?

Hey there, guys! I hope that you’re all doing well (: I’m very happy to have a new Cultivating A Joyful Life post to share with you! This one will be centered on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, but is also one that I struggle with greatly.

When I respond “naturally,” which is unfortunately the case, to a situation that upsets me in some way, the reply I end up giving is never one that I’m happy with later. I’ll think about the words I gave or the gesture I made and wonder why I didn’t think it through, or come up with something more positive first … the list goes on, and is of course unique to each situation. As a whole, though, I continually come back to desiring a heart of gentleness – which is what I’ll be talking about today. ❤

See More: Cultivating A Joyful Life

Every time I write a new post for this series, I am blessed again and again by the fact that each topic I choose has easily been comparable to a garden, and this post is no exception. God is so good!

Flowers are such delicate plants. It takes a patient, careful, and gentle person to help them live and flourish. You can’t rightly picture a quick, rough person as having the ability to cradle a flower as the person in the picture I’ve shared above is doing, can you? I certainly can’t. In fact, I see someone much like I mentioned at the beginning of this post caring for a flower in such a way. And while my desire to cultivate gentler behavior in my life isn’t motivated by wanting the ability to carefully cradle a flower (haha!), I’m sure that it would be much easier to exhibit such gentleness if I put this into regular, deliberate practice.

Where do you desire to see more gentleness in your life? In your words, your mental well-being, your outward actions? In the rest of this post, I will share quotes, Bible verses, and my personal tips on improving all three of these areas. ❤

Establishing A Heart of Gentleness

The first step toward greater gentleness is a change of mindset. Deciding that you will exhibit kinder, more thoughtful actions is where it all begins. From there, beautiful habits will blossom, old ones will fade away, and you will find yourself becoming more gentle with each day that goes by. ❤

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:17 NLT, emphasis mine

Another thing that helps me is being more mindful. When we’re conscious of how we’re thinking, acting, and talking, it’s so much easier to slow down and think things through. For example, we can take an extra moment and give more gentle responses by taking the time to consider what the affects of what we’re planning to say will have on the person receiving them. I have avoided wrong responses by taking just those few seconds.

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength.” – Ralph W. Sockman

“Being both soft and strong is a combination very few have mastered.”

3 Bible Verses About Gentleness

  • Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29 NIV
  • Let your gentleness be evident to all…” – Philippians 4:5 NIV
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1 NIV

Thank you all so much for reading! This was a beautiful post for me to write, and it has helped me to get my focus back in the right place. I’m looking forward to putting these tips into practice (: At the moment, I plan to study chapters in the Bible that focus on gentleness and kindness of heart (let me know if you have any recommendations!), slow down and make more mindful decisions, and pray that the Lord will strengthen my steps. ❤

Let me know in the comments below:

Do YOU desire to be gentle?

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

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Cultivating A Joyful Life | Happy In The Waiting

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Happy In The Waiting

It is very easy for us to get caught up in attaining what we desire. It is pretty awesome how quickly we can become passionate about reaching goals in our lives, however – if we didn’t ever have that drive, would we get anything done? I don’t think we would, haha!

Anyway, there are so many things we aim for and look at eventually completing. Whether that’s going on a certain vacation, getting a college degree, meeting Mr. Right, or whatever else one may desire, we have huge hopes and dreams. Oftentimes, when the circumstances are right, we reach those goals, and what a beautiful thing that is!

However … how do we feel when there are delays, sidetracks, and unpreventable changes of plan? What do we do during the waiting?

Hey guys! I am long overdue on writing a second part to this fun series, so today I bring to you: ‘Happy In The Waiting.’ In our time and culture, it is extremely easy to fall into the habit of desiring and getting what we want quickly and efficiently. Any little inconvenience is highly agitating, and easily disruptive to our tight plans. I know how it feels; I’ve been there. Even when I don’t have specific plans that need following, if whatever is happening doesn’t go along with how I ‘planned’ it would happen in my head, it makes me upset, haha

I wanted to cover this topic in Cultivating A Joyful Life because acquiring a stronger tendency to respond patiently would benefit all of us, if even in the smallest of ways. It would definitely give us more peace, and could also potentially affect our relationships and well-being in positive ways, as well.

Before I delve into this any further, let’s return for a moment to the garden of our hearts, shall we?

If you think about it, gardens are all about waiting – as well as the art of patience. It takes diligence, care, and photosynthesis for plants to grow. It takes patience on the gardener’s part to consider the plants’ needs and tend to them accordingly. You may want a flower to quickly bloom so that you can experience its beauty, but that isn’t quite how it works. To grow something from its seed form usually take weeks and much perseverance, but the outcome – a beautiful, thriving plant that you cultivated with your own hands – is absolutely worth it. The same is true for our lives!

Happy In The Waiting

There are times when we want something instantly because we know how happy it would make us. From our viewpoint, the stars are all aligned – we need only to reach out and grasp it, pursuing the desire with our whole hearts.

When circumstances start to not go the way we want, our happy plans begin to fade as things continue to come up, hindering our progress and hardening our hearts.

That’s usually when we start to push the matter.

We take it into our own hands instead of waiting for everything to turn out just right, as it appears that that will never happen, anyway. We do what we wouldn’t have originally done out of desperation and discontent. That never gets us anywhere.

Waiting often looks, and always feels, like a waste of time. Sitting around doesn’t seem to accomplish anything, does it? I’ve been there myself so many times.

Throughout the Bible, there are many instances when having patience and waiting on the Lord is brought up. This means so much to me, as I often feel alone in the waiting, but His Word has reminded me time and time again that I have not been forsaken. There are two main things that I have taken from the various verses on patience over the years.

First, the Lord strengthens our faith through these times of waiting. Relying on Him to lead us, and putting all of our trust in His plans, is one of the main ways we mature as Christians. There are few other things that will cause us to draw closer to Him than our times of need.

Second, He will not forsake us when we need Him most. He has been there for me every second of the way when I trust in Him – even when I can’t see His hand at work in the situation until later (as is often the case). The only times in my life when I felt alone during trials was when He was deeply testing me. Those were also the times when my return to the arms of His everlasting grace were all the more special. The other times of loneliness where when my focus and intentions were misaligned. The moment I stepped foot back on the right track – the path that He had for my life, not the one I figured out for myself – I instantly found myself at His side once again. ❤

The Lord is with those who call upon His holy name.

When I find myself growing discontent in His timing, I often turn back to Proverbs 16. Its sound wisdom has brought me through rough points in my life when I was becoming truly hopeless. One verse that really reminds me of where my focus should be is the ninth verse:

“The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.”

It is up to us to chase after what we desire for our lives, but it is His will that shall be established and succeed! ❤

Thank you so much for reading! I thoroughly enjoyed continuing with this series, and you’ll probably see me post a third addition in the weeks to come. Thanks for following along!

Let me know in the comments below:

What times of waiting has the Lord brought YOU through?

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Content Where We Are

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Content Where We Are

First and foremost, before I really delve into the topic of this post, I’d like to clarify that I’m well aware that most people don’t live in cozy little outdoor patios like the one featured above. 😂💚 It merely serves to materialize the ‘home’ theme of Part One of my Cultivating A Joyful Life series, as well as keeping to the constant theme of these posts, which are gardens.

In the introduction that I wrote last week, I shared a beautiful way to think of our minds and our hearts, and that is by comparing them to a garden. The gardens that are well-cultivated, loved, and overall taken care are home to many beautiful plants and accents throughout! However, much against the gardener’s will, weeds still sprout up, good plants still die, etc, so it is essential that they are continuously cared for.

They cannot be cultivated to a certain point, then left to their own devices; just like with gardens, our hearts need daily (in some cases constant) care, or else everything gets bad quite suddenly. In abandoned gardens, flowers start to wilt, stems fade and begin turning brown, leaves slowly fall off the trees … in short, beautiful things cannot live if not taken care of.

I may be speaking of gardens, but in many ways, one can put his- or herself in this situation, as well. What happens when we stop actively putting aside bad behaviors? How does our life change when good habits that we were constantly nurturing are thrown to the side? Our positivity starts to wilt, happiness fades and turns to sorrow, and the joyful way we usually feel begins to crumble away. It’s a sad image, yet absolutely accurate; I’ve seen it happen – and felt it happen! – time and time again.

One of the utmost things that has been on my mind as of late have been earthly dwellings – or, put plainly, as you’d probably prefer 😂, our homes! 🏠 Many of us (myself included) become discontent with where we currently reside for all sorts of reasons. That’s what I’ll be attempting to tackle today – discontentment with where we live, and how we may come to be okay, happy, and just overall …

Content Where We Are

This is a fact of life that many of you probably already know: we easily (and often) become bored. Growing tired of anything in our lives that stays constant for too long is a frequent occurrence, and it is completely different for each and every person. We crave change, we desire new things, and, sometimes, we simply long for life to be a bit more interesting. I know that I personally love for things to be familiar, yet interesting; normal, yet different.

You see, I love for things to have a basic schedule and predictability, while still leaving room for creativity, for switching things around here and there when necessary. For example, I really enjoy going places, and I love that most when they’re different places. I like to get my schoolwork done on weekday mornings, but in a different order each day, depending on how much work I’m assigned. I thoroughly enjoy reading books, browsing blogs, and listening to music, and I enjoy those activities most when they are different books, blogs, and music. Do you see the growing pattern here?

I love predictable variation.

That may sound odd to you. In fact, it sounds odd to me. But I have realized while writing this post that it is an absolute truth in my life.

When it comes to where my family and I live, I strive to be happy with where we’re living. I decorate the bedroom I occupy to my utmost liking, and I learn to accept the little things that are wrong with the house itself (for there are always cons to the homes we find ourselves in). I’m usually quite fine with wherever we’re living. However, the moment I begin to feel unhappy with the location, I feel very trapped, sometimes afraid, and most certainly like I want to break free and move elsewhere – far away – to be anywhere but here.

When I look to the Lord for the healing balm that will soothe my aching soul, I always find three things that comfort me. Here they are:

  1. He cares for us so much. It may look like we’re stuck somewhere, whether it’s because we haven’t found a new place to move, or there are financial struggles, etc, but all things serve a good purpose (Romans 8:28). Find joy in the waiting! It definitely seems fruitless at times, but we are always being prepared for what is to come. That leads me to my second point:
  2. The dreams and plans that the Lord has for His children are far greater than we can ever imagine. It says so in His Word! (1 Corinthians 2:9) We often find this hard to believe, especially when we’re hurting, but please, if you will, take a moment to look back at the beautiful life you have. Can you see His hand at work? I always can in my own life. ❤ That leads me (again!) to my third point:
  3. This is not our eternal home! I tend to think that bad/upsetting living situations are a permanent thing, but guys. Everything is SO temporary! Not only are there beautiful opportunities and experiences waiting for us in our future, but we are also “looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.” – 2 Peter 3:13 NLT, emphasis mine. That’s the first time I’ve read that particular translation of the verse, and it has me so excited right now for all that He has in store for us!

In conclusion, it’s hard to feel settled in the houses/apartments we live in sometimes – and that’s okay. At times, it’s important that we move, and in other situations, it is crucial that we wait. Look at your unique situation from every angle. For me personally, I know that my family and I will soon move out of the house we’ve lived in for two years, which I didn’t even know about when I started writing this post. ❤ The Lord’s blessings are everywhere!! (: xx (by the way, we don’t have a date or anything yet. This plan is tentative. ‘Soon’ will have to do for now. 💚)

How about you?

Are you finding the joy in where you live? What are YOUR favorite things about your current home? 🏠💜

Happy Wednesday, guys! I hope that you’re all having a beautiful, blessed week!

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Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

Cultivate is one of my favorite words. It is a beautiful way to describe keeping and nurturing plant life, but the way I love to use it most is in an analogy.

Have you ever heard those inspirational quotes that refer to our hearts as a garden?

We each have a garden within us.

It’s the place where we keep all of our best memories – and our worst nightmares; a place where we grow positive attitude attributes – as well as traits we wish we didn’t have. In our gardens, we cultivate beautiful things that add joy, love, and peace to our lives … and in that same garden is an assortment of weeds, plants we wish weren’t there anymore, dusty stones in that cobblestone path that has been the main walkway in our hearts for years. It’s different for each and every person; not one garden looks the same, and that’s okay! For just like we differ as people, what we cultivate in our hearts, minds, and souls is different, too.

I often ponder what is in the garden of my own heart. Seldom have I mentioned it, but I absolutely love analogies, parables, metaphors, and everything else that’s nice (haha) – really, I love comparing things with one another by using verbal illustrations to show how, even though two things are completely different, they are, in essence, the same. Even though I have come up with few unique analogies myself, I take to heart each and every one I come across that touches me. I enjoy reading, seeing and hearing what others have come up with, and I also love the wisdom found through parables in the Bible.

Jesus’ favorite way to teach was through parables. There are many to be found in the four epistles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and I love them all. Each one beautifully illustrates whatever point the Son of Man is making – which makes sense, for He has infinite knowledge, so He would be the One to come up with the perfect parable for each lesson, every single time, haha!

When I was pondering posts I’d enjoy writing last week, this was one of the title ideas that came to mind. That is, ‘Cultivating A Joyful Life.’ What exactly does that mean, you might wonder? I’m not even completely sure myself yet. But the aspects that I’ve thought over in the days since then have made extremely excited to write out this series, as it will be a great learning experience for me, and anyone else interested, as well.

Since April, I have been keeping up with my Making the Change series. At first, it was a weekly thing that I did, but now I do one at the end of most months. The day before I was going to make the first post public, I was really second-guessing myself on how well the series would be received. It was good for me to write that post, and I knew that it was quite possible that I could help others overcome whatever obstacles they’re facing … but I worried that people wouldn’t like me anymore because I would be revealing the fact that I was dealing with anger. Being so vulnerable and open frightened me, but I went ahead and posted it, and the response the series has gotten as a whole has blessed me so much!

Every one of you who has commented on the posts in my Making the Change series has truly added to my life and helped me to stay focused on fixing the behaviors that have bound me for too long. It hasn’t been easy at times, and I greatly appreciated everyone’s feedback, and hearing you guys’ stories blessed me, as well. ❤

This series, Cultivating A Joyful Life, will be in some ways similar to Making the Change, but instead of looking to fixing specific behaviors, it will focus more on better understanding ourselves, on how we can be joyful and at peace with who we are, where we are, and also who we are with.

It’s a work in progress, but this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to continue with this series!

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