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Posts Tagged ‘celebration’

Yesterday was my birthday.  My gift was a day of joy.   Joy is not an emotion or feeling that I “stir up.”  Joy doesn’t come naturally from anything I do.  Joy is a fruit of the Spirit.  And, on this day, joy was experienced in countless little things.

None of us knows how a day will play out, do we?  There are days when everything seems to go wrong or when I just feel out of sync with God, myself and others.  But, on Monday, November 29, every little thing seemed right.

No celebratory plans had been made.  A road trip to Sedona before heading back to Iowa just seemed a good “spur of the moment” idea.  With brilliant blue sky above us and hot coffee in our thermos (yes, a little cream), we weaved through the Superstition Mountains up to “rim country” and the cowboy town of Payson.  Those of you who know me have probably figured out that I get “good” or “not so good vibes” from certain environments.  A drive through Payson and then the little villages of Pine and Strawberry comforted me.  While we drove, Paul and I were deeply involved in discussions of God’s Word and what He says to us, our family, and this culture.  I was in my element.  Joy wrapped contentment.

The road meandered through pine forests and beside red sandstone cliffs before dropping into the Verde Valley.  Always before, we had driven I-17 to reach the red rock country of Sedona.  Never again!  This back country road provided peace for the soul but, at the same time, joyful anticipation: What’s around the next bend?

Sedona has a reputation for being a kind of “new age” mecca.  A resident Lutheran pastor once commented on the spiritual warfare he discerns in this place where faiths collide.  I’ve visited the shops where crystals, wicca wear, and all manner of cultish books are pandered.  Paul and I have walked the trails where pagan ceremonies are sometimes held.   But, on this day, we were not to be distracted by evil; rather, we were directed toward all the goodness of God’s creation.

Lunch was “just right.”  Two cookies — cranberry oatmeal and chocolate chip — seemed the perfect treat following a half tuna salad and cup of tummy-warming soup.  Half of each cookie was eaten piece by piece all afternoon.  The other halves were saved for tomorrow 🙂    An hour or so was spent in a family-favorite shopping village of Tlaquepaque: Paul patiently content, me on a gifts-for-friends quest.  Paul would rather be anywhere other than near a store but, on this day, he, too, relaxed in the presence of joy.

Joy in the little things continued all afternoon. Sons, Jon and Josh, both called at exactly the same time.  Visits weren’t all birthday focused; no matter!  The little thing of timing was significant to me.  While Jon talked with Paul about farm matters on one cell phone, I listened to sounds of joyful chatter from our youngest grandson on another.  Josh, our daughter-in-law, Alison, and six-month-old Max chimed in on speaker phone.  Then, a friend called.  Some text messages arrived.  As a spectacular setting sun begged for attention, another call came to Paul from his brother.  It didn’t matter that the call had nothing to do with my birthday.  The joy was in the communication of siblings whose lives and good counsel matter to each other.

It would have seemed that the day was complete.  Completely perfect.  But, no, joy in the little things continued.  Even in the darkness, the pine forests welcomed us back.  The Christmas lights of Strawberry and Pine reminded me of the anticipatory season.  A little detour off the main road through Payson took us to an unfamiliar, but charming restaurant.   During dinner, two more text messages arrived from son, Jon, and daughter-in-law, Angie.  When we arrived back in Gold Canyon, an e-mail from grandson Jaden awaited me.  Our neighbor was still up, ready to hear about our day.   And…

… this birthday girl pondered the joy of little things in her heart.

Thank you, my Heavenly Father, for the gift of this day.  Thank You for stirring up joy that I could never do for myself.  And thank You for my husband — who, on this particular day, carried not my burdens but delighted in my joys.

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