Monday, April 2, 2012

How to bring JOY and lots of pictures too

 Ok so you may remember me talking about this HUGE BLESSING we received when a young lady from our church....who happens to have a grandma across the hall from my grandma in the nursing home.....say- Can I take your pictures?  WAHOOO!!!  God loves to give us extras :).  THIS IS HER LINK on facebook :)  And as you can see she has talent!  We are soo THRILLED!  So here is the you are reading the post today pick out a favorite, or a few favorites and let me know what you think.  I will try to number them to make it easier when referring to your favorites :) 

So This would be #1.  And she is our number 1- our first born BEAUTY!  :) 

OK So blended in with these pictures I want to tell you a list God put on my heart.  You see lately with lots of changes happening in our home- moving, temporary housing- a few of them!, buying a home, finding a job, settling into that job, finding a church, settling into that church, volunteering at our church, getting the foster/adoptive life group going, finding our new normal, bringing home Michael, getting things figured out for him, again finding a new normal, is a bit draining to say the least!!!!
 #3 (the young lady in the middle is Alexis.  Her only payment was she wanted a picture with our family!  She is just so fun and wonderful to work with!!!  :) 

So what do you do to combat that dry desert feel to your life?  How do you restore a NEW NORMAL?  How can you fell anywhere close to normal again when there are periods of your life that seem like complete CHAOS?  The Holy Spirit has been really digging up some ground in my heart and showing me.  You have to start over.  Start looking for JOY! 

I never lost joy really, but let's just say it was a lot harder to find among the craziness that can sometimes take you on a roller coaster ride that you can't seem to get off. 


BE THANKFUL!  For the details, for anything you can see around you, often, and let it sink into your brain how much you are BLESSED!  Something that has helped me is writing it down!  That way you have a visual of all the many many many many blessings!

Calm voices.  Now this is something God has really been whispering into my ears.  When we allow ourselves to get angry and lash out, or allow ourselves to almost float out of control it is hard to be joyful.  THIS WAS A HUGE HELLO- OUCH for me!  I am sooo still working on this, but I am getting there.   Slowly........

Obedience.  Oh dear.  How come we teach this to our children right?  Yet it is harder to do ourselves?  UGH!  

Praising God!  This is something I thought I had learned when we were grieving so deeply through the adoptions we have done, for the losses of our Hannah and Naomi, but yea still working on that.  Sometimes it just feels sooooo OPPOSITE of what we want to do.  It really does remind you in such a real way- GOD IS STILL GOD!!

Reading Scripture!  Awww.....this is one that I have been really growing in over the last few years.  God has really opened my eyes to see that without HIS WORD there is a strained relationship with HIM.  I can't have a good relationship if I am not seeking who HE IS, and I can't seek that unless I open up HIS BOOK :) 

Practice that ONGOING relationship with God, your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your co-workers whoever is in your life.  This can bring about so much change in you as well as them!

Being Patient.  Is always easier than it sounds isn't it?  YEP! 
 #12 & #13

Play!  Be silly, laugh easily, relax!

Exercise. Lest you think I am talking about hour long workouts here (which I do not do)....I am not.  But simple fresh air and stroll can do wonders on our attitude.   

Hug often.  Enough said.  Hugs are a gift from the LORD and they require only a few seconds, but have a lasting effect on us. 

Say out loud I LOVE YOU!  To God, to your family, and friends.  3 words that can change your heart and others.  Very powerful!

Forgive quickly.  This one is hard to do when you have been hurt, are being hurt, and well let's face it getting around that is hard work.  WITH GOD......we can.  

Stay positive.  Now sounds easy enough, but if you let the "ickies" of the world and those around you drag you down in a heart beat.  You have to make sure your environment is set so you can remain joyful and not be drained.  (note to self if the "ickies" have invaded your home this is hard to do, so help them find joy too!!!!!  In whatever way possible.)

Refill your cup!  Important to go to God, read scripture, stay in HIS PRESENCE, go to church, go to life group, women's/men's group, all the things that fill your cup!  It is sooo helpful.  

Pray always.  It should be ongoing dialogue.  

Give completely.  Oh dear....even when I am tired....and it feels that last straw will make me lose my mind!  YES!  

LOVE WHOLEHEARTEDLY!  Let's face it there are people maybe even in your own family that are hard to love!  Ask for that strength to LOVE with all your heart!  I know I need that!

SMILE.  It makes others wonder what you are up to :).  Remember that saying?  he he is so true that a smile can affect your whole personality.  

Serve.  Serve in your family, to your husband, to your children, to your coworkers, to your neighbors, to the people who live in a nearby nursing home, to the women's shelter, to .........(fill in the blank with at least a million options)

and this is a biggy for me- Contentment!  In ALL areas of your life.  Not just laying down like a door mat, but a true work in progress contentment.  One that says I can choose to be happy in every circumstance.  
 #26 & 27

(sorry when I uploaded the pics I wouldn't put a space between some of them)

So this list......seems long.  So I will be praying that God will open my heart to HIS and give me posts about them to share with you.  There is a lot swirling around in this head, and I hope that it can uplift you!  To help you find JOY in whatever situation you are in right now.  

I know that there are days you may feel on top of the world.

Feeling silly and fun like the above picture, and then for some reason it is zapped in a heartbeat.  

So enjoy the pictures......and let me know which are your favorites!!!  Or which parts of my Bringing Joy list you struggle with.  I want to hear from you :)  It' fun.  

(totally melts my heart!)

Whew!!!  That is a lot of pictures people!!!  So if you have a hard could break it down into what pic of Jason and I you like best, what family pic you like best, or what cute kiddo expression you love the best!  All these pics just prove how much variety is in our family and God's AMAZING creativeness!!!!  :)


  1. totally amazing, beautiful and wonderful!!

  2. Love how the personalities shine through.

  3. Beautiful pictures! "The Joy Dare" has been so helpful to me in keeping perspective (which I sorely need today)!

  4. hmm. i will have to make separate comments probably as I get time. CRAZY busy here. Three months in to this adoption and we STILL dont have our new normal going. I am struggling on all counts these days it seems. I am TIRED! When we get so physically exhausted it makes it hard to do what we KNOW to do. My hubster is working in another state for several days and I am only on day two!? I will go back through pics....

  5. love all the beautiful pictures. Love the ones of you and your hubs! You guys are so cute! Great Post!
    Love you guys!

  6. So I am finally going to post and stop lurking. Love #7 of Michael and his daddy. They look so happy. Also #23 is my favorite picture of you and Daddy. You look so in love and I think it is important for children to see their parents having that love for each other.

  7. They were ALL amazing pictures. You have such an adorable, loving family. Got Love? The WRIGHTS sure do! But if you're going to make me pick favorites, here's a list of ones that stood out to me...

    #7, #9, #14, #19, #22, #24, #25, #30, #34, #35, #36.

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  9. ALL the pictures are great- but #9 (everyone on the monkeybars) is my favorite! It's just too fun!


  10. 7 and 35! But they are all great! Thanks for the reminders that we all need to hear repeatedly!

  11. I really like #10.

  12. Dawn,

    Just found your blog through a someone's link. Love it! We are adoptive parents ourselves---three precious girls from China (two as toddlers, one at 14)----plus four biological kiddos so far. We have alot in common with the "Are they all yours?" question that I get wherever I go! :) I will enjoy checking out your blog and reading about your beautiful family!

    Love and hugs from another adoptive Mommy---Selina ---Where I blog about all things family/adoption/homeschooling/parenting, etc....

  13. Your family makes me smile every time I see your pictures! :)