Journaling Joy

Joining Bonnie over at Faith Barista tonight with one of the most fun assignments thus far in this venture into blog-world.  Using photos and words, we are to comment on where we’re experiencing joy these days.  Go over there and check out some of these collections of pictures and words – AMAZING.  


What brings me joy these days?
The list is long, despite the heaviness of worry about my mom, despite the myriad details still to be sorted through as I finally clear out my large, corner office at church and re-settle into my tiny one here at home, despite the unsettled feeling of these early retirement days with no set schedule…that joy-list is long and I am grateful.
The Monastery of the Risen Christ, San Luis Obispo CA
Traveling 115 miles north once a month to meet with Abbot David, my spiritual director, never ceases to bring fresh reminders 
of the joy of the Lord.

The Mission Renewal Center, Santa Barbara CA
Finding out that this summer I will be attending the School for Spiritual Direction that meets at this retreat center 
brings me joy, just the thought of it!  
I will be able to complete my certification process begun in Chicago in ’09, interrupted by some serious health issues last year – and I’ll be able to do it right here in my own hometown.

Remembering our delicious Easter dinner brings me joy, too.
But then good food tends to do that with regularity!

Flowers of all kinds and colors remind me of the creative genius of our good God.  I love to have cut flowers indoors, to have lots of flowers in the garden 
and to drive to local fields to see them growing wildly, 
in all their painterly glory.

Fields of poppy and lupine, Figueroa Mountain outside of Los Olivos, CA

Carpets of color at Corrizo Plain National Monument, about a three hour drive from home.

Other than the gift of life itself, 
my family brings me the deepest joy of all.
A retirement trip to Maui in February of this year.

45 years and grateful for every single one.
Last summer, at a cabin we rented near Yosemite.
Three amazing kids, all grown up with kids of their own.
 Our kiddos range in age from 14 months to 20 years. And we had six boys in a row!

And 8 grandkids – each one unique, 
each one adding another layer of joy.  

The youngest ones don’t mind having their pictures taken and each of these three seemed to arrive in our family circle at just the right time.  (Well, they all did, didn’t they?  These three stand out somehow…)  The two five-year-olds were born the year our much-loved son-in-law became critically and chronically ill, bringing life and hope to us all as he was dying.

And our newest (and likely last) little one came into our lives soon after the biggest one was out on his own.

 And the newest joy in our family is our eldest daughter’s brand-new engagement.  We’ll have a summer wedding after a long siege of sadness and loss.  

And this was the view out my bedroom door as I began compiling this list tonight.  The gift of a home, a comfortable, welcoming home is something we never take for granted.
And it is a source of joy on so many levels:
family gatherings,
spiritual retreats for women,
meeting with directees,
hosting friends and strangers,
finding space and permission to be silent and alone,
sharing space with a lifelong partner.
I’ll leave this reflection with shots of some of God’s winged creatures who regularly speak to me of grace, beauty and yes…joy!

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:26
a visiting oriole in our side yard – shot through the window and the screen!

a mocking bird watches over the wildflowers

a brilliant red cardinal sings his lovely song on Maui

a greater egret wades in at sunset


a great blue heron, hunched position

wading in, standing tall

 and taking off with those great wings and long legs
 a curlew, reflected in the water with his head up
 and with his head down, making a perfect circle of himself

the big birds settling in for the night in the very tops of the eucalyptus trees which stand all along the Goleta Slough, just north of us

the sunset majesty of the ocean as it folds into the slough

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  1. Wonderful photos, and beautiful familly. So much to be thankful for, yes?

    I enjoyed your post!


  2. Thank you Vicki – it was way too long, but I had such a good time doing it! And yes, I do have a lot to be thankful for.

  3. Dear Diana! Thank you for sharing your heart – for your mom – and also the joys God has filled your life with. So much beauty, even as there is worry. This is the place of faith you’ve shared so wonderfully. Thank you!

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