As I sit here at my desk, reflecting on this year, I’m amazed that there are almost no more pages left to pull off on my calendar. This wonderful year has flown by and like many, I have to look back and count the many blessings that I’ve been given.
I started out the first moment of this wonderful year literally standing beside the ocean, just like I have done for the last 7 or so years. A gift in itself as I did not have the funding to go to the beach and the hotel room was covered. The first full day of this glorious year was rainy, cloudy and completely awesome. I loved the rolling clouds, the steady rain and fog. Many would have been discouraged by it, but I loved it.
So many wonderful things have occurred this year. I doubt I’ll stay in order, but I just have to point out the great things. Many of us tend to easily remember the negative even when we are not choosing to learn from it. I want to focus on the positive.
The year brought a wonderful gift for myself, my Happy Things Calendar. Each day I get to tear off a page knowing the next page will reveal 10 more happy things. I don’t always know what they are or even agree with them, but I love this gift. It makes me reflect, think and see things in a wonderful light.
My nephew that I adore (I adore all of my nieces and nephews) had been talking to his teacher about his Aunt Marie and how she likes to help people. Little did he know that just talking about Spreading Joy, he gave me an opportunity to encourage and empower all of the students in his class. I loved talking to them, reminding them that regardless of the limited resources, we each have the power to make a difference, right where we are with what we have. His school is full of some awesome students and I was honored to be allowed to encourage them.
I had the honor of traveling to Roxboro NC and delivering HOPE to Dwayne Reaves and his daughter. HOPE that so many of YOU provided. Spreading Joy Corp, was just the means of delivery, your hearts provided the hope and met his needs. He knew that his rent for the previous year was going to be taken care of, but we surprised him with the rent for 2010 and a week at the beach for him and his daughter for free, including meals.
I thought I would have to miss my son’s 19th birthday. I was grieving that fact. Another gift for me was getting to see him and surprising him. He had no idea we were coming and was in the midst of a horrible week. The surprise look, the tears, the GINORMOUS hug and the laughter was incredible in that moment and for the weekend.
The email comes across my screen “guess who is in town?” I’m so close but feel so far away from meeting Chuck Norris. I spend a week pouting because he will literally be 15 minutes from me, but I had no hope of seeing him after desiring to do so for 25 years. Who knew that my cousin would get tickets out of the blue, who knew that Chuck Norris would be doing a book signing, who knew that I’d actually get to have a dream come true? I would have never guessed that in a million years. Never. His eyes met mine, his handshake was firm, his voice was kind, his heart huge as he patiently spoke with each person that waited in line. I could hardly speak as I left him, knowing that in my heart of hearts I never expected to have this gift. Ever.
Summer comes and goes and back to school supplies go on sale. I’m in the middle of it. 5 am shopping trips to Wal-mart to avoid the crowd because I need 300 packs of pencils, 600 spiral notebooks, 300 glue sticks, 300 boxes of crayons and such. I call for days, looking for book bags that were less than $12.00 and finally, a smaller discount store, Fred’s is willing to give them to me for $5.00 each. So many Spreading JOY heroes came together to help us distribute 300 book bags filled with school supplies. NICE!
I had the pleasure to be interviewed by several people that host blog talk radio. The topics ranged from speaking of my passion for Spreading Joy to Finding Joy, through the tears and sorrows. Joy and happiness are two very different things. It is possible to have deep down joy through sorrow. Difficulties will arise, but regardless of the sorrow, joy is yours for the keeping.
I have been able to write more poetry this year than in my entire lifetime put together. I love reading poetry but have never had the ability to write it. I’ve been able to express my thanks, share what a hug is, talk about the pain of no tomorrow with my Father and the difficulties of yet another closed door. I’ve been reminded that love hurts, but it’s worth the risk and worth fighting for.
Each week this fall, I was given the glorious gift of watching the mountains of NC and VA turn to a brightly colored canvas of pure awesomeness. The oranges, reds, yellows and everything in between was amazing to see change. The mountains would be on fire with the morning sunrise and sometimes clouds and fog would just sit gently on top. I love watching things like this! Such a gift.
Before Thanksgiving rolls around, I decided to publish the list of Little Things that make my life big. I’ve been writing these things down in the back of my journal all year long. I didn’t realize it was such a long list. I’m awed by just how many little things I adore and just how wonderful they make my heart feel.
Then Christmas – FINALLY – its here at LAST!! My most favorite time of the year! I love giving, and what a better time to celebrate others than now? Christmas JOY 2010 is in full swing. I’m emailing people for gifts, asking for donations and asking companies to collect toys. I’m loving the pep in my step from the never ending Christmas Music that is ringing in my ears! A glorious bash for the ladies of the Battered Women’s shelter was amazing, even though the gift of snow threatened to keep me from it.
I’ve had the honor to meet and hug so many wonderful new friends this year and have had the pleasure of being reminded that true friends that love you, will love you no matter what. No matter what you do, the wrong decisions, the way you look, the tears you cry and everything in between….. a true friend will simply be there, knowing that being with you is enough.
And lastly, but certainly not least – I think of how the online Worship Service on Twitter has grown. Tworship – I’m honored to be apart of it and co lead it with Richard Mayhan. He and I started this in 2009 by sharing the song How Great is OUR God by Chris Tomlin and the ideas he has brought to it have taken it to heights we couldn’t have imagined. Each week night, we come together with as many as 300 people to sing praises online and out loud. We’ve even started highlighting those that participate when they can.
Yes, this wonderful year has been a precious gift. My heart is overjoyed and full of gratitude for the opportunity to give back simply because I know just how very blessed I am. I love spreading joy and encouraging others to do what they can, where they are with what they have.
Thank YOU – for being a part of the gift of 2010. Thank you for how you have helped encourage me, inspire me, motivate me and keep me focused on what is important….and that is others.
Thank you for your heart for others, for all you to and for how you are spreading joy.
Tell me, what gifts have YOU had in this wonderful year? Have you examined the events? I know there is negative, but if you are willing to look closely, you’ll see the wonderful positive things that have come your way.
Share your gifts of 2010 with us!
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