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Monday, June 17, 2013

A Different Kind of Summer

At fellowship group on Saturday, someone commented that they saw I started a blog but realized there wasn’t any “juicy gossip” in it.  What they meant was they read the title “A New Beginning” and thought I would make a big announcement about my summer plans or moving away or something crazy and it wasn’t to be found………..until now.

Another new beginning, besides my blog writing adventure, is this summer.  My summer technically started this last Tuesday so I am currently on day 6 of summer.  This time last year, I was on Day 7 of Office work at camp and for the last 6 summers, I would be gearing up or already serving in a full summer camp experience by now.

But this….this summer…is a different kind of summer.  In short, because of my full time job as a teacher and all the energy that takes up, I could not continue to work summers at camp full time and then swing back into full time teaching.  These last two summers, I went from camp, to school, to camp, to school, to burnout times one hundred.  But camp is such a dear ministry to my heart……how could I just give it up, all together?

The answer is…I don’t have to.  The first big event on my summer plans is heading out to camp in Maine to volunteer at Christian Youth in Action from June 19-28th.  I’ve participated as either a student or trainer in the CYIA program for 4 years in the past, and they are always the highlight of my summer so I am looking forward to be able to go back and serve there.  I also will head back to Maine for the last full week of July to be a counselor for Teen Week.  So I’m pretty much stoked!  I get to serve in ministry that I love and I still get a good chunk of summer as well to plan and prep for the new year. 

I have already started several mini projects and writing down ideas for the new school year and look forward to three solid weeks in July to focus on school stuff again.  Besides that, hoping to walk/run more, learn to cook for myself more diversely, play some crazy croquet, work on soccer juggling, go berry picking, hiking and knock some shows/movies off my Netflix instant queue. 

I’m off to Maine tomorrow so I won’t likely update til July but hopefully I can give a recap of the ten day training school I am blessed to be a part of.  A new adventure lies ahead for me this summer….what lies ahead for you?  Any special events coming up on your summer program that you are especially looking forward to? 

Until next time,
Joy Lynn

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Brownie Points for the Letter Writers

Whenever the 5 love languages come into conversation, I’ve always said that I firmly believe that my top two receiving love language is words of affirmation and quality time.  Gift giving was only part of my giving love languages…not a reception language but the more I clean/reorganize my room, the more reality is creeping in.

I do indeed dislike the awkwardness of receiving gifts, especially at parties or events where all eyes are on you and you have to say the right thing or smile right or whatever.  I am a slow processor and not super excitable in the moment, so I make a klutz out of gift receiving.  I do enjoy giving gifts though, much more than the act of initially receiving.

But it got me thinking of some of the things I treasured most.  As I went through my belongings, I decided that I like practical gifts, I like meaningful gifts and I LOVE letters/cards/notes/drawings from others.  Gift cards, recipes, and the ever coveted dry erase markers are practical gifts that I cherish and put to good use (except maybe the recipes….I’m trying…thanks for feeding my pile though, Katie!).  When I look at my desk, some of the meaningful gifts that fly right off the shelf are a slab of tree bark that a counselor wrote a letter on for me (CGN 2011), a piece of artwork from both Haiti and Malawi that two different people who went on missions trip brought back for me, a hand crafted ornament with “Hope” imprinted in it, and a hand crafted wooden picture frame and pen made by a friend.  Each one of those things, along with countless others, stand as a testament of something extremely meaningful and sometimes extremely time consuming on the part of the giver. 

But then, if you really want to play a tune on my heart strings, write me something.  I treasure them highly.  Just today, as I was looking through letters that I’ve accumulated in just these last two years, it brought constant smiles to my face and gladness to my heart.  Two folders worth of notes from my students and fellow staff at the school I work at remind me why I love my job.  It has it’s hard moments and lots of life lessons, but I love my job and especially my students.  If I could put all sorts of holes in the wall in my room, I’d post several of their pieces of artwork, encouraging notes and cards all throughout my room to keep my eyes on focus to what God has called me to do.  Then I went through a stack of cards from my summers at camp, both from those I served with these last two years as well as letters from those I had worked with in years past that wanted to write and let me know what I was missing at my last camp position.  Then I had a stack of my dear friends, whom have developed on again, off again pen pal writing over several years.  My friendship with many of these peoples has changed but the blessing they are to me has only grown in time. 


So what’s the point of writing this blog, you might ask?  Well, as I was praying and pondering, I began to tell God that I sure hope my future boyfriend, fiancĂ©, husband is a letter writer.  Bacon is one way to my heart but only a momentary one.  A letter though, can be held on to, cherished, read over and over again, and bring that smile/memory/laugh back for another round.  So brownie points to all the letter writers, the soul penners, and celebrate the gift that God has given to you!

Until next time,

Joy Lynn

Friday, June 14, 2013

Find Me On The Potter's Wheel

My earnest prayer to You,

Is that You find me on the Potter’s wheel.

So why do I complain when my world is spinning fast?

When Your thumb is firmly pressed?

When my walls are caving in?

I am, but a lump of clay,

Void of use without Your grace.

Help me know Your hand today.

Mold me, make me, and never rest,

So I will know Your faithfulness.

-Joy Lynn

A New Beginning

It's finally first summer off without any major obligation since 2005.  So in this new season, I find myself reading numerous blogs....some from friends, some about hobbies that I have yet to jump into (running), some about finances and many devotional thoughts from around the web.  I haven't had much of a blog presence myself, though I have published over 70 notes on facebook with the same content that you might find on a blog, so I decided to make the jump and start a blog.

In this first post, I'd like to address the reason why I titled my blog, "The Joy of Hope."  The first thing you should know about me is that my name is Joy.  The second thing that you may be able to deduce from the title is that my mother's name was Hope.  She passed away in November of 2003 but she will forever have a firm footprint in my life and she left a legacy that I continue to hold in high regard. 

But beyond the literallness of the title, I also titled it "The Joy of Hope" because in all reality, the only true "joy" that we as people can embrace and count on, is the kind found in Christ, our only "hope" of salvation.  It is because of what Christ did, that I can face tomorrow with all its's because of what He did that I can trust Him with all that I have, knowing it all came from Him.  It is because of what He did, that I can find friends and family all over this country (and a few others), because the family of God knows no borders.  It is because of His sacrifice that I can be sure of my eternal fate and it is because of that faith that I know that I'll meet up with my mothers again in Heaven. 

Oh the joy, the hope, the grace, mercy and love we find in our Savior! 

In this blog, I hope you see my heart, that though it is not perfect, it seeks to serve and be molded by God.

In this blog, I hope you see my walk, that though I stumble, God is faithful and helps me even crawl along.

In this blog, I hope you see my dance, that though I go two steps forward, one step back, that I seek to let Christ take the lead and follow in His steps.

In this blog, I hope you are encouraged, challenged, and feel free to ask questions, speak comments, or alert me to concerns.

In this blog, I hope you see me.  No mask or make up but my heart, raw as it is.

In this blog, most of all, I hope Christ is glorified and magnified. 

Thanks for taking the time to read.  Hope to update soon.

Until next time,
Joy Lynn