Christmas Joy

Life isn’t always a smooth sailing ride; in fact, the ride doesn’t come without emotional adventures. It’s been a year of highs and lows for us for sure, celebrating many things admist some bittersweet moments. We spent a short, fun weekend with my family skiing for the first time in Colorado. We also celebrated the life of my father-n-law as he went home to Jesus, the beginning of married life for 4 family members in 4 different states, the birth of my best friend’s baby, our 8th year of marriage, and my Pee Paw’s 90th birthday. We have had a year of much personal and external stress. The stress came in packages from working late hours and traveling at least 3 of the 4 weekends each month. Traveling came with a high percentage of cancelled and delayed flights sending us to a hotel overnight or turning our flight around because we’re running out of gas, or deboarding several times. We learned to laugh about the number of flight mishaps. Finding blessings and even adding some humor often lessens the load on our emotional state.

Humor is almost always intertwined somewhere daily which also reduces tension at some point. There were many times my husband’s blood pressure boiled because he needed to get back due to a full patient load on his schedule the following day. I almost had my head put on a platter due to a prank I pulled on him recently in the airport. I’m typically the worst at pranks and jokes, but this one...I have to admit, was pretty good.

A successful prank
We had a connecting flight in Dallas and got on a tram to drop us off, just 2 stops (or terminals) down. After the 1st stop, the intercom announced that we needed to get off and hop on another tram due to this one being down. We were literally, just one stop away! We had to get on the other tram which was going the opposite direction putting us on what felt like a 30-45 minute ride to our gate. I was trying to lighten the situation telling him at least “it’s a beautiful sight” of the airport as I was humming the Winter Wonderland song. Then we finally made our stop and he was already several feet ahead of me as I hollered at him looking down at my phone, “Babe! Our gate is back where we were at B!” His facial expression quickly turned from relief to panic in seconds bolting back to the tram before the doors closed with bags falling off his shoulders. I was laughing so hard and crying that I almost didn’t yell out in time, “come back, I’m kidding!” He was seconds away from getting trapped on another ride around the airport. I think he experienced a roller coaster of 4 different emotions within 1 minute. I cried the entire way to our gate with tears streaming down my nose and tried to ask “that was good wasn’t it?” I know I probably tripled his stress in 2 seconds, but he did say he will laugh about it later all while trying not to crack a giggle. Knowing my luck, I would jinx our day…and sure enough, I did. Our flight was delayed several times and it didn’t stop there. Upon landing at our destination, we waited at least 15 minutes for a shuttle to pick us up for the parking lot. Fifteen minutes isn’t long, but it feels like hours when you go from temps in the 70s to the single digits unprepared with light weight jackets and fingers and legs stinging. As we were thawing, we got off the shuttle to find our car had been frozen over, literally.

We may have had a LONG day, but how could you not laugh about this!
Note to self: always use your keys, do not rely on your keypad to enter your car.
My husband and I feel we have the worst luck with flying. The situations are, no doubt, stressful for the average person, but then I sit back and think about how some people may be missing a funeral, a wedding, or getting home to see their family after months of deployment. A girl sitting next to us during our last trip had been hopping around flights and airports for 36 hours just to get home! In addition, I often think about how much pressure the pilots manage as they make decisions and try to fly everyone to their destinations safely within a time frame. It makes me wonder, how much or how many times do we allow stress and circumstances in life to rob us of our joy?

We may be tired and/or frustrated when traveling,
but somehow, we find the energy to add some humor or fun.
Despite the losses, voids, or any circumstances in life, God grants us many, many blessings. Some so simple we forget to open our eyes or hearts. We forget we still have a purpose. We forget we are not the only ones battling life and that we have support. Some of my richest blessings include Christ, my husband, my family, and my friends. It’s not anything tangible nor is it anything that can be replaced. Perhaps, that is why it’s so hard to let our loved ones go when God calls them Home. I cherish each day, each moment with each one. I choose to live one day at a time, to the fullest. We can choose to live with or without Joy.

In the midst of running around the weekend of our niece's wedding in Virginia,
we had to stop and take a moment to soak in God's beautiful painting.
If you find yourself lost this Holiday season, be sure to spot your Joy that may have slipped through the cracks. This may have been a tough year for many. It has for us as shared in this series of personal posts. This is also my husband’s first Christmas without his best friend, his father. However, the bittersweet moment, is that his father was ready to see Jesus. How could we ask him to fight a little longer on earth? Nevertheless, my husband and I are quite content when we count our blessings. We’ve been blessed beyond measure and so thankful that God extended time on earth for my father-n-law during his cancer battles. I’m thankful that my husband and I have each other, and for each day we have with our family and friends. There are times we often feel we do not have enough time together so we squeeze in date nights or brief getaways to refresh our joy. Our marriage isn’t perfect and we have our days, but what I love about us is that we seek adventures, we make humor a part of our daily life, and we live one day at a time walking in faith.

Squeezed in a little weekend in Chicago for the first time together,
and had a BLAST!
If I could give any tips or advice based on my 2016 experiences and series of personal posts, I would share the following:

     1)    Ladies, know and check your boobs (guys should, too)!
     2)    Couples, take time out for each other whether during the week, weekend, or simply take on small adventures together
     3)    Stay active or exercise to fight and endure your stress
     4)    Enjoy EVERY blessing of life and count them
     5)    Do not worry about tomorrow, live in the present
     6)    Humor and laughter is a cheap medicine
     7)    Walk in faith and live each day to the fullest

We ended 2016 with a bundle of fur joy. 
     Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a happy and healthy New Year to all!

Quote of the day: Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

Bible verse of the day: This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
~ Psalm 118:24


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