Spread a Little JOY

Happy Monday everyone! Or happy first day back to school after Christmas break! I'm actually not that happy about it. I know for some, getting the kids back in school is a stress reliever, but for me it is stressful to get back in the routine of getting up early, getting homework done, and getting everyone to bed on time...only to start again. This break I have been especially mindful of hugging my kids a little tighter and cuddling on the couch a little longer. So today marks the end of our lazy pajama days and I'm a little sad.

This weekend I got to thinking about how to make January something to look forward to instead of dread. So it isn't just about getting back on a schedule, trying to keep resolutions and make it to the gym (or not eat milk duds). How do I make the feeling of Christmas last through January and beyond? You know, that feeling you get when the lights are still up on the tree and you've watched all your loved ones open special gifts picked out just for them. Joy. I want to drag Joy with me into this new year! I already shared how I need to work on my spiritual growth. I think one of the best ways to do that is by giving back. Serving in some way, big or small. I think a perfect way to keep Joy in your heart all year long is by spreading it around!

My oldest son's Lion's Heart group (a community service organization) met this weekend and talked about ways they could serve. It just so happens that one of the boys in the group is a younger brother to a young man that attended Sandy Hook Elementary when he was in Kindergarten (years ago). He and his family have been collecting donations to send back to Newtown so friends of theirs from Sandy Hook can use the money for the best good. One of the ideas brought up in the meeting was to help him collect donations for Newtown and show them, in that small way, that we are with them, sharing in their grief, and wanting to show support. A simple idea that will hopefully bless those whose suffering surpasses my understanding.

A friend of mine Molly, (you can see Molly's blog and learn more about her fabulous prayer journals here) has come up with a wonderful idea called "Blessing Bags". She and her family took much of their winter break to collect donations and items to fill large plastic bags. The bags will be filled with blankets, non-perishable food items, water bottles, and Bibles. The idea is to have them in the back of your car so that if you see someone in need, you have something to hand them that will immediately help. You can find out more information about Project Blessing Bags here. Simple. Spreading Joy.
Another friend of mine Emmy, is using her time and talents to give Joy to those who have struggled with infertility. She has planned an event that is SURE to spread Joy to many women and families that are wondering what little miracles 2013 will bring! She has used her experiences to reach out to others and give back. Another simple idea that will bless so many. You will be hearing more from her when she does a guest post on Friday!

What about you? We would love to hear all the ways that you plan to give back or things you have done in the past that kept the Joy flowing all year long! Leave your message to us in the comments section! We can't wait to get some more good ideas.

As for me, I'll be helping all these causes and giving my time to do whatever I can. It's not a lot, but it's a start and that's the first step. As for today, I'll kiss my kids when they get home, make a snack before homework starts, and ease into our "back to school" routine. Keeping it simple and spreading a little Joy, that's what it's all about.


Holly and Jenn

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