Hello and good day to you all! I hope this post finds you with joy in your heart and blessings on your mind. Today, as I look around me at the world, at the things our society is focused on, a feel a sense of loneliness. Where are all the joyful people? I have decided that amidst the horror and drama that our society seems to be focused on, I am going to try to bring more love and joy to the world. People fighting hate with hate, not realizing that they are generating more hate. That wont do! People are intrinsically good. Bound by love. Why do so few people understand that joy and love are ours for the choosing. One negative can blind a person to the thousands of blessings in their day. Today I am making a vow to challenge people to step out of that gloomy place, and start looking for their blessings. Today I vow to spread joy every chance I get. I hope you will join me on this journey. All too often we are told joy is a choice, and yet, so few people seem to have the tools to choose that joy, to see their blessings, to feel the love. I propose we work together to teach them. To show people that choosing joy is easy. That it is a matter of how we have been trained to think, and all we have to do is retrain the way we think in a way that the positives come to the front first, That for every negative, there is a positive and if we learn to focus on the good that a situation can bring, we forget to focus on the misery in it. People get so comfortable in their misery, that choosing joy is uncomfortable. If only they realized how much nicer you feel at the end of the day, and every moment in between. Stepping outside our comfort zone can be a good thing. Finding the blessings in our day isnt hard if we just consciously try. I wish I could organize my thoughts on choosing joy well enough to get my book started. It breaks my heart how hard people make happiness seem. How far away they think it is. You can have it today. It is soft and fluffy and warm, and close by. All you have to do is start looking. What are you thankful for? What do you have that you didnt once upon a time? What about your family, pets, dinner, roof over your head, clothes on your back,. What about the stars and the moon and a gorgeous day. Rain is a good reason to celebrate, rarely is a good rain not helpful, refreshing, and cleansing. All we have to do is choose to see the best case scenario. Heck, even the middle of the road scenario is often so much more positive than focusing on how bad it can be. Why do we focus so much of our energy on the negatives, and worst case scenario, when we could be appreciating all our blessings? Today I challenge you to choose joy, but it comes with a warning. Sometimes its lonely here. Sometimes you feel helplessness because you have learned to choose joy, and you see the people you love fumbling along without having made the choice for joy, and you feel helpless. Still, at the end of the day, helplessness leads to problem solving, so I sit here wondering, how do we teach everyone to choose the joy? How do we teach them to place the love that binds us all on the front burner? How do we show them that if they stopped to focus on the blessings, they are far more abundant that the stressors in our lives? How do we teach people that they are in control of how much of their energy they give to joy or distress? I challenge you to start looking first for the positives that a situation can bring, to start making a “pros” list that outweighs the “cons”. I challenge you to say to yourself “Will this horrible thing that is happening to me be something I remember the day I meet my maker?”. If the answer is no, then you are likely spending too much energy on it, and might try to fight it with a positive, find the good that can come from it. Somewhere, hidden deep inside of it, there is good. We may not be able to see it at first glance, but with time and patience, the good will become clear, and we realized we wasted a lot of energy focusing on the negative of it and it had a good outcome after all. At 40 years old, I regret one thing. How much of my energy I gave to negativity. I have a choice and I am choosing not to give my energy to the negatives that are so abundant around every corner today. I am fighting hate with love, judgement with empathy, ignorance with education. I refuse to let the negative win. I am here to enjoy life, just as God intended me to, and with Him by my side I will do just that. Choosing joy isn’t as hard as it sounds. The tools are within us, all we have to do is sharpen them. Pretty soon its default to use the sharper tools and you surprise yourself with an instinct to choose joy and hold a small funeral inside your heart for all those days you wasted focusing on the hardships and injustices of the wold, and for letting them consume your energy. First step. Define your blessings. You can always fight negatives with the most obvious of blessings! I am blessed so abundantly, I couldn’t possibly fit all those blessings in one list, but to get you all started, here are a few of the blessings that I am thankful for today:I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for my son. I am thankful for his special needs, they taught me alot about love, individuality, blessings in unlikely packages, and well, life. All of my relationships are better because of what I learned form my very special child. I am thankful for my mom, and my sister and brother. I am thankful for my dogs, and cats and the way that they look at me as if I am perfect, every single day. I am so blessed to have this lovely piece of property to rent. Its expensive, sometimes causes a bit of worry, but it is ultimately a giant blessing. I have more clothing to wear on my back that I know what to do with, and am so abundantly blessed in this area that I am struggling to weed some out to bless others with ;). I am blessed with partly sunny skies and mild weather today. I am blessed with the buzz of family around me. I am blessed with a wonderful garden and an abundance of variety in seeds to choose from. I am blessed so many ways its overwhelming trying to list them all. Perhaps the most important part of recognizing that life is so abundant with blessings, is remembering to be thankful for them. The gratitude that seeing your blessings brings cannot compare to any other feeling. Oh the humility and joy that you find when you realize that no matter what the surface may look like, your life is abundant, all you have to do is choose to see it. To remain focused on the positives, on the things you love and appreciate. The grass between my toes, the wind in my hair, these are reasons to rejoice. The sun that rises and sets, and its counterpart, the moon. These too, are reasons to be thankful. The air we breath, the water we drink, the abundant food in most of our cupboards, these are all blessings. We just need to recognize that and the abundance we start to see becomes overwhelming. Look any direction. Can you see a blessing within your reach? They are so abundant they surround us and we forget to notice them. Challenges aren’t here to make us miserable, they are here to teach us and to help us appreciate what we have. Challenges build our character and strengthen our empathy. Challenges turn us into bright, beautiful, well rounded people. Challenges are meant to build us up, not to tear us down. To teach us about faith, patience, forgiveness, acceptance, and gratitude. Challenges are what create our character. How we approach them is up to us. What are you worrying about today? How can you turn that worry into a positive? What do you think you are lacking, that really is a blessing your not seeing? We all do it, everyone. Its not an insult to anyone. I do it too, but I recognize that and am challenging myself to remain diligent in focusing on the blessings. Would you like to join me, as we choose the path of joy, blessings, love and gratitude?