If you have been reading my blog, “Joy for the Journey”, for any length of time at all, you know that my life chiefly centers around two immovable disciplines.
The first joyful discipline is my daily commitment to the unmatched, powerful, restorative, and miraculous Word of God.
I will read the Bible every single day of my life.
I will read the Word when I am happy and when I am sad.
I will devour the Word of God like a starving woman aches for just one morsel of bread and like a thirsty woman who is desperate for just one drop of water upon her parched tongue.
I will read the Bible when I “understand” it and when I don’t.
I will remind myself daily that I don’t read the Word for information but for transformation.
I will read the Bible. I will.
My second joyful discipline is the determination that I have made to worship without reservation.
I will worship the Lord in the middle of the storm.
I will sing my heart out when tears are rolling down my cheeks.
I will lift my hands in worship when I have no strength to carry on.
I will whisper a song of praise when I am weary in the exacting journey.
I will out-shout all of the demons in hell and I will be consumed by a heart of worship.
No one … and nothing … will drown out the worship song of my heart.
I will worship. I will.
But today … during these last few pleasant days of April … I want to share with you some of the pleasantries that I have also incorporated into my life.
I call them “practiced pleasantries”.
These sweet daily choices are like vitamins to my soul. They also ensure that I don’t linger beside the canyon of depression and gaze longingly over the edge.
These practiced pleasantries may seem like no “big deal” to you … and they may not fill your soul the way that they have filled mine … but I hope that as you read about the small delights in life that bring a smile to my face, a sparkle in my eye and a spring in my step … that you will begin to identify what your personal delights are as well.
One of the sweetest moments of my life on a daily basis is the moment that I open my front door … and I go for a long walk in the living room of God.
I smell flowers and listen to the birds.
I fill my lungs with the fresh and expansive air of creation.
I smile at strangers, and I observe the seasons change before my very eyes.
I look for butterflies, turtles and bothersome geese!
I watch the trees bud in the spring … and the effervescent rabbits in my neighborhood leap before me on my daily trek.
When I, at last, come back once again to my own front porch, my lungs are filled with oxygen and my heart is filled with purpose.
Walking outside is a practiced pleasantry for me.
The second practiced pleasantry is this one …
I learned from a very wise woman, many years ago, to keep fresh flowers in my home and to play classical music every evening while we eat dinner.
Now, there have been many seasons in life when I haven’t been able to afford the luxury of fresh flowers … but when I can I do!
I buy the dying ones at the grocery store for half-price and coax them back to life!
I buy a hyacinth in the spring that lasts for weeks … nearly until the dawn of summer.
I purchase a poinsettia after Thanksgiving that lasts until nearly Valentine’s Day.
Baby’s breath and green leaves often fill my grandmother’s vase in the middle of my kitchen table.
I also listen to music from composers such as Gershwin, Chopin or Schumann while we eat dinner or while I fold laundry during the day.
How I love the reflective melodies of Debussy … the precision of Sousa … and the whimsical music of Vivaldi.
Fresh flowers and classical music … are both a lovely part of my practiced pleasantries.
Another daily delight for my soul is making sure that my home smells good … really, really good.
While you may use a diffuser … I still love an old-fashioned candle that dances and glows in the still of the day.
In the winter months, my home smells like cinnamon; in the spring, it is lilacs and roses.
In the autumn months, I love the smell of apples and cider and during the glory of Christmas, my home smells like a Christmas tree farm!
As I light the candles that are placed in different rooms of my home, it reminds me to pray knowing that my prayers ascend to heaven as incense that goes forth.
My prayers of desperation, of praise and of heartfelt requests … light up the throne room of God and fill His nostrils with my love for Him.
M-m-m-m … did you smell that?!
What a wonderful sense is the sense of smell!
My home smells good … really, really good … because it is part of my practiced pleasantries.
Although I have many other practiced pleasantries … and maybe I will share more with you from time to time … the final one that I will share with you today is that I am a gift-giver.
I love to give gifts!
I have an entire stash in my closet … and when a grandchild needs a sweet surprise … it is there!
When a friend is celebrating a significant birthday … I have a gift for her!
When a neighbor is sick … I find something in my wonderful stash!
When I am going out to lunch with a friend … I rarely go empty-handed … but I rifle through my stash until I find just the right gift!
If my stash doesn’t house something appropriate for the recipient … oh my! I will just take the time to stop somewhere exciting like a bookstore … a flower shop … an antique store … or the dollar section at Target!
I love to give flowers … mugs … candles … books … scarves … earrings … bracelets … seasonal décor … vibrant socks … exotic teas … yummy chocolates … and beautiful plaques.
It truly is in giving that we receive.
When I give a gift, I am the one who receives joy, satisfaction and fulfillment.
When I splash in the practiced pleasantry of gift-giving … the joy comes out of me and is transferred to others.
And so, dear friend in the journey, these are the final days of the glorious month of April!
What undiscovered contentment is knocking on the door of your heart this sweet month?
What will you do this month to cultivate the seeds of joy in your life?
What song will you sing?
What beauty will you observe?
What oxygen will you breathe?
What simple delight will you enjoy?
What gift will you give?
What music will you listen to?
What aroma will you smell?
Who will you bless?
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart, but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is.
10 Things to Love about Being a Christian
Carol McLeodApril 20, 2022
Used with permission from carolmcleodministries.com.