Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Finding The Rhythm of Joy


Can I share a secret?

stock images
After a decade of moving to gospel music, it's hard to keep a polka beat. 
Last month I'd taken my wonderful in-laws to the Corrigan Senior Center's music fest. A gracious older man, Joe, danced me across the floor.
Going from Kirk Franklin's funk to Barefoot Becky's perky polkas, I needed to follow a new beat. 
All around me people spun to the music.
Joy surrounded me. I needed to catch the rhythm.

Much like a precious young woman I mentored.
She and her husband, both military, downsized to a small apartment right before his overseas duty tour. She was left stateside to handle a full time job, their newborn, and her step-son.

courtesy of debspoons @
One evening I went to over to help. She turned to me in desperation and said, "I'm up with the baby all night, work all day, then come home to cook and clean and take care of the kids.
When's it my turn?"

I looked into her exhausted, tear-streaked face and answered,


She jerked to attention like a marionette in the hands of a demented puppeteer. She gestured to the piles of laundry and dirty dishes and said, "Ms. Jeanie, you gotta be kidding me."

I put my arms around her and shared the hard-won wisdom I'd learned through years of difficulties:
"You're not joyful BECAUSE of the mess, but You can find joy IN SPITE OF IT."

She seemed skeptical at first, but eventually weariness won out. She counceled with our pastor, Ramona Smith of Bible Truth Ministries, and received wisdom.

For instance, this new mom thought she needed to hold her baby whenever the child was awake. Also, she started asking her church family for help.

Here's a tip for everyone: Don't go it alone. The Lone Ranger wouldn't have gotten far without Tonto.

In Nehemiah 8:10 the people heard,
"...Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

We need to learn to dance to a new beat, to connect with the rhythm of joy.
Instead of complaining about the dirty dishes, thank God for the food.
Instead of complaining about the job, thank God you have a way to provide.

I'm not saying to stay in rotten situations.
I'm saying we need to live in joy as we pray and press our way out of those situations.

So whether you're clapping to a 1-3 beat or a 2-4, keep on singing, keep on praising, keep on dancing to the rhythm of joy.
If you feel so overwhelmed you don't believe things will ever get better, write me. I'll pray for you, and do my best to show you how to connect with joy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

1000 years of wisdom

I danced in the arms of a stranger while my husband slaved away on a 12 hour shift.

Big cheating hussy?
No, I had taken my in-laws to Omaha's Corrigan Senior Center.

My dance partner, Joe, guided me through a polka as guest musician "Barefoot Becky" fired up the room with her accordion, accompanied by her wise-cracking husband on guitar.


As the rollicking music poured out, the senior party-people kicked up their heels with enough energy to make a young rapper envious.
I scanned the room and realized I was surrounded by over 1000 years of combined knowledge. So when Barefoot Becky hot-footed off to her next gig, I tapped into that wisdom by asking people this question:

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Here's a sample of their wisdom: 

Mary, Jerrie, Rita, Irene, and Lawrence all agreed they'd tell themselves to go to & finish college. 

Rita, with 50 years of nursing experience, stressed learn how to study.

Marcie and Dale said- study harder. Not surprising their advice coincided since they've been married for 60 1/2 years.

Joan-help kids onto the right path.

Lorraine-don't get stressed out. Go with the flow.

Evelyn-enjoy every day.

Val-be more outgoing socially.

Sharon-don't take yourself so seriously.
Eileen-don't work so hard.
Sandy countered with- never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

Jonie and I had this in common-we'd have given our lives to Christ much earlier.

We can't go back in time to give ourselves advice, but we can do a turn around right now.
Turning our lives over to Jesus is the most dramatic life changer possible.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

And those nasty things we've done?

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.  Psalm 103:12

Talk about good news!

Here's more good news. If you know someone over 60  send them to Corrigan's senior center. Manager Lynnette and the gang will make them welcome. And I'll even share my dance partner, Joe.