Wednesday, November 20, 2013


   My ten-four-good-buddy M who curates a smart and insightful corner of the blogosphere called May I Have a Word recently posted this hashtag to Twitter, and it has stuck with me in the most wonderful way.

   She happened to attach it to some good daily news, just a simple celebration of something that in the moment made her life easier: Cheap fuel for her little car, Phoebe. And it's so contagious! This joy! 

   Furiously Happy.

   I happen to know that she did this simple thing on a day filled with inspiration. She was brimming with that good stuff and allowed it to spill out all over everything and everyone nearby. I'm so happy for her and wish her a long, thick, heavy ribbon of that energy to last her a great many months! Years. Decades.

   What sweet M might not know is that she also did this simple thing in the middle of the week I have started my personal "One Thousand Gifts" campaign, my season of taking inventory of little joys (and big ones), of counting my blessings, of listing on paper so much absolute beauty in my world, my daily life. So her chosen words, Furiously Happy, are perfect. Once again.

   I'm on #107 right now, working steadily towards 1,000. 

   This is such a worthwhile exercise, friends! First of all, I highly recommend you find a copy of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts, the impetusand read it for yourself. Another friend Amber drove me gently to read it, and I'm so glad! Voskamp's stories and scriptural explorations are soothing, wise, and enlightening. I'm planning to give this book as a gift to some special people in my life.

   But even if you don't do that right away, do this: grab an extra notebook and start immediately taking stock of beauty, happy surprises, simple pleasures, answers received, grace notes, blessings, miracles, etc. All the good daily stuff, all around you. See how long it takes you to reach 1,000 gifts, and maybe even make it a group project with your loved ones. It's like the Facebook tradition of daily gratitude we all attempt every November, taken to the next level.

   Furiously Happy.

   The thing is, yes. Life serves all of us up with acute, debilitating pain, aching pain that lingers, and very real, very deep loss and grief. Our little farm family is enduring another dark chapter right now, one unlike any before. But God Who loves us so perfectly and so permanently... continues to bless us every single day! And counting and appreciating these blessings doesn't deny that pain; but this habit may very well help to ease it. The cultivation of joy... The warm, open heart... May be the secret ingredient to our collective healing.

   Furiously Happy.

   I know that in my own turbulent faith journey, in coping with these changes with my children, this ongoing separation that is so impossible to understand, the worst times have been when I surrendered to the blackest pain. I become mean, bitter, jealous, unattractive, judgemental, unproductive, and physically unwell. Not good. I hurt myself, and I hurt my loved ones. Conversely, the best times have been when I surrendered to the brightest joys. Everything clicks. Friendships blossom, home life is downright blissful, my health skyrockets, and (get this) communication and affection with my girls improves like you can't imagine. Much, much more laughter than tears. Unbridled goodness all over the place. It's almost scary how much power I have with my thoughts and feelings. (You too, by the way.)

Choose Light every single chance you get. 
Which is every moment of your life.

   So I'm a big believer in the power of your perspective to actually shape your world. For me it has proven to be much more than a nice idea or spiritual theory; it has for several years now changed circumstances in my life. Wrap all that energy into focused prayer, and nothing is hopeless. No pain is forever.

   Furiously Happy. It's more of a conscious choice than we sometimes want to admit. 

   So thank you, M! Thank you for articulating your burst of joy the way you did. I read it and imagined your eyes squeezed shut and your pretty brown hair shimmying as you shook your head and squealed the words. I love you and wish you many many repeated moments of Furious Happiness.
"To See the Glory,
 Name the Graces."
~John Piper
P.S. as I hit publish I'm now on #128.



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