finding meaning in the mundane

Tag: Death

Choosing Joy Over Happiness

Have you ever heard something and felt like it totally resonated with you?  The other week I was having a particularly hard week.  I was watching as things around me were not coming together the way that I would have hoped, my schedule had me out more nights than not, and I had to press into a few difficult conversations.  It left me feeling anything less than happy.

While shuffling through my “Kings Kaleidoscope” iTunes radio station, I came across this song.  I immediately favorited it, and added it to my wish list.  The words and melody of this song needed to be one click away for me in times like the one I was describing.  I needed to be reminded of these great truths… Take the next 4 minutes and 37 seconds to listen to the lyrics of this song.

In my ebook, “Empowered” I take a look at how we should be growing in Joy.  Too often our culture tells us we should be happy all the time, yet scripture tells us we should be joyful.

Joy is the inner peace that says, this is good enough. Joy is not affected by the circumstances around you. Happiness depends on what is happening to you, joy does not. Joy cannot be and is not situational.

from “Empowered”

I love how Tifah Al-Alttas, the singer-songwriter frames the truths of that song with the melody.  It is real, and understandable.  It is as if she is saying, I choose to be joyful even though the melody of my life has been set in a minor key lately.  Listen to how Tifah describes the birth of this song:

The first time I played Joy was the night my father passed away.  He
had a short and painful battle with cancer.  My dad was not perfect
but he did the best he could with what he had.  A year before he died
he was diagnosed with dementia.  The day he told me he had cancer he
said it was a blessing.  To him, cancer was a better way to end his
story than a mind with no memory of his family or his life.  So as I
sat at the piano, the only place that felt safe that night to me, the
weight of loss hit my chest.  I remembered my eyes were blurred with
tears and I literally began to play the now familiar progression of
Joy.  I kept cycling through the progression and then, as if it had
already been written, I began to sing a different melody to a song I
sang in VBS as a child, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my
heart…” The truth is that I was terribly and profoundly sad.  The
reality of grief had not even entirely hit me yet.  But at the same
moment I had a deep sense of peace.  He was no longer in pain.  He was
no longer sick.  He was free from all his ailments and restored.
Although I still miss him, I know that God has weaved redemption
through death into my father’s story.  That brings me great joy.  It
was not until grief became a part of my story that I realized that joy
is not simply an expression, but an attitude and acknowledgment of the
deep peace of knowing a Savior.

read more about Tiffah’s testimony here…

Remember joy is not dependent upon your situation.  Joy is a choice, it is a way of life.  It is a decision that you make when you wake up to choose your outlook no matter what may happen that day.

Where in your life do you need to choose joy?  I know it isn’t easy, but it is an incredible free fall into the hands of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Follow Friday

followfridayIt is that time again.  Good news people, it is FRIDAY!  So here are a few things that I have found helpful this week.  I’d love to hear who you are learning from, listening to, and loving this week.  Also, what website or blog is a must read for you?  Time to circle the wagons and share around the camp fire.

Here’s what I have found to be helpful…


Josh is a good dude.  He’s a great pastor, and he is new to the blogging world.  He has some really great thoughts that have challenged me to think.  I love a blog that at the end of the post, I am left thinking about and reflecting on my own life.  His definitely does that.  This is a blog that I’m excited to track with from the beginning…  (make sure to check out his most recent post about life and raisin bran crunch)

Josh Hathaway

Twitter: Rich Villodas

Rich is the lead pastor at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, NYC.  He has an awesome outlook on what it means to be healthy, spiritually and mentally.  He is one smart dude for sure.  I find that he encourages me to walk closer with Jesus, and so for that I am grateful!  Check him out…

Rich Villodas

Book:  Chasing the Dragon

This is an incredible story about how one woman stood up to the drug dens in Hong Kong and rescued so many children from their grips.  It is an incredibly inspiring book of this woman who gave her life to serving Jesus and how she served Him…  This book has been challenging to me, and is one of those stories that inspires me to GO and to serve and love others well.  It is a great read… You can pick it up here.

Jackie Pullinger

Resource: Do’s and Don’ts for Supporting a Grieving Loved One

I came across this article and found it to be incredibly helpful.  Cristi gave words to so many of my own feelings I had when my Dad passed away.  It was a great reminder to me though about how to really take care of people who have lost someone they love… Please, do me a favor and read this.  Especially if you HAVEN’T lost someone you love yet.  All of us who have, will thank you!



So, there it is!  This weeks rundown.  Now, I would love to hear about what has been helpful for you this week.  Drop a comment below.



Thank you for praying for us as a family.  We are really going through the thick of it right now.  Now that the funeral is done, the guests have left, things are going “back to normal”. It is difficult.  Emotions come up at unexpected times, and it truly just keeps bringing me back to my knees in prayer.  Thank you for meeting me there!

I am glad to be here with my family in Texas.  It has been good to be here for an extended period after the funeral.  We have had an opportunity to be together, reminisce together, laugh, and cry together.  I have been so impacted by the words that people have written about my dad over here at the caring bridge site.  It has been great to read about the ways that my dad has made a difference in people’s lives.  There are even some people who didn’t know him that well whose lives he has touched.  Like this one here.  

It is hard walking down this road.  I have come to hate the word “was”.  I hate using the word was.  I wish that I could still say is…  

Thank you for your continued prayer support.  We are so thankful for each of you!


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