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. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’š 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 ๐Ÿ˜‚, our homes! ๐Ÿ  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 differentย places. I like to get my schoolwork done on weekday mornings, but in a differentย 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 differentย 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 beย 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.ย 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. โค That leads me (again!) to my third point:
  3. This is not our eternal home!ย 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.ย โค 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. ๐Ÿ’š)

How about you?

Are you finding the joy in where you live? What are YOUR favorite things about your current home? ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ’œ

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

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Little Accomplishments – August 11th, 2017

Little Accomplishments – August 11th, 2017

What have you accomplished this week?

Welcome to this week’s Little Accomplishments!

Why hello there, everyone! My goodness, how in the world is it Friday again? ๐Ÿ˜‚ Does anyone have the answer? lol! ๐Ÿ’š Anyway I hope that you’re all doing well and are as excited as I am that the weekend has come back around for us to enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

I have been working on so many different things things recently. Those have mainly been music-, blog-, and organization-related, and as you all know I love those three things SO much, so life has been a blast!! After that bout of sickness my family and I went through, it has been a huge blessing to have an enjoyable week that was pretty much back to normal for us. Among the things I accomplished, I was able to do something I’ve never done before (it’s the second thing mentioned in the list below – check it out!), all of my 12th grade school subjects have been lots of fun and very educational (hush Maggie, your nerd is showing hahaha #homeschoolerforever), and … well, I’ll keep talking about how life has been for the rest of this post! I won’t continue to ramble on right here! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’œ

Let’s celebrate all of life’s joys – no matter how small!

This past week, I…

  • completed Spanish 5 on Memrise. (YAS! I’m always excited when I finish another level of these awesome language learning courses. Although I must say, I’m also sad because I’m getting ever closer to the end of these lessons! [By the way, I shared a picture of Spanish 6 below because I’m excited about learning that next.])

  • learned to play a song on the piano. (Guys. This is my most favorite accomplishment ever!! โค I looked up the piano chords to Jordan Feliz’s How Long [which has been my favorite song for months now] and, with the chords that I found, I was able to teach myself to play the tune and sing along with it, too! When I’m a bit more confident, I’d love to share a video playing it for you guys! That would be so cool!!)

  • went through my phone. (That means that I cleared off apps I’m not using, transferred all photos and videos … everything that monthly phone maintenance entails!)
  • tidied my room. (This includes dusting and cleaning my desk, dusting the piano keyboard [it needed it], and straightening everything on my bookshelf!)

  • went through the books on my bookshelf. (Special thanks to the pretty way I’ve arranged my books, this was hard to do, haha! But as shown in the picture of my room somewhere above, I found a way to make everything still pretty, even with some of the books missing. x I’m donating some, and others I’m keeping elsewhere because they’re more like reference books [baby names, tree reference guide, etc.].)
  • finished reading King John. (I mentioned this on my reading list post earlier this week, and I must say that I really enjoyed it! It’s definitely Shakespeare’s most underrated play. If you like reading Shakespeare, I’d recommend giving King John a try!)

  • began reading The Merchant of Venice. (Eh, not as gripping to me as King John was, but I’ll still read it. The characters are pretty cool – and funny, too!)

Comment what YOU’VE done this week down below – last Saturday through today!

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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. โค

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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