“Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.” ― Ann Voskamp

Last week one evening my niece was over playing with my youngest daughter.   As I watched them, I couldn't help but feel the joy.  Their squeals were loudly heard in the back yard and their smiles were radiating almost as bright as the evening sun. At 3 it seems pretty easy to be joyful.   Worry and disappointment comes in the form of not getting to buy another app on the I Pad or not getting one more cookie for dessert.  These sweet cousins were not even aware they had a limited 45 minutes to play together that night.  They just lived those 45 minutes to the fullest, without a thought elsewhere.

It makes me wonder, as we get older, when does this natural joyous state begin to change, and why does it have to?  As I've mentioned before I've been reading 1000 gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I have been challenged to open my heart to the gifts all around me. I have been challenged to see the seemingly insignificant as beautiful as God intended it to be. I desire to let go of the worrying about tomorrow and embrace each day and moment for what it is. As I look at these images today, I am reminded to live joyfully and to open my heart to the fullest life God has to offer.  I know that God is presenting this gift to me daily and I want to open my heart and grasp it always.   Sometimes, this is easy. But, admittedly, sometimes it has to be done with a conscious effort.  In either case, it is there waiting for all of us.

There really is so much beauty waiting to be appreciated in any direction I look.   And for these 45 minutes, it was indeed pure bliss.  It was giggles, swinging, sunlight, little hands and barefeet, lake breezes,  blonde curls, a sweet dimple.

I am thankful for this joy.

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