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Living My Joy
I believe there is something we all were purposed to do in this life. Maybe it's creating or inventing something, championing or furthering a cause, philanthropy, helping to feed, clothe, teach, encourage, or provide for others, whether as an individual, via an organization, your own business, or otherwise. Whatever the purpose and the vehicle through which it will be accomplished, no one can walk in our purpose the way we can. Either as a leader or in a support role, how we accomplish our purpose will be unique. Why? Because I believe that if it's our purpose, we have custom made shoes (the tools) to walk into and live it in our special way. Shoes made just for us, by design, perfectly measured and styled--accounting for abnormalities, strengths, and weaknesses--for maximum comfort. Molded for us.
 
Living our purpose doesn't mean it will be easy. There will be discouragement and setbacks along the way. By walking in our custom made shoes, we can better handle the range of  joys, progress, challenges, and disappointments that arise while living our purpose. Personally, I love the materials and design of my custom made shoes. The soles of my shoes--my firm foundation--are formed from my relationship with God. My heels are formed from my faith. God's loving arms wrapped around me form the upper portion of my shoes, with the right amount of flexibility and durability. I may get plenty of nicks and scuff marks while living my purpose, but I know that no matter the situation, I am uniquely qualified to handle it. I have a pair of custom made shoes just right for any occasion.

 
 
Folks need to be fed every day. Why wait until a designated holiday to donate money or volunteer to feed and/or clothe them? Having a loving family and friends is a joy. Family (some--let's keep it real!) and friends should be gathered, and celebrated with, as often as possible. Why wait for a special occasion? We bring out the fine china and wear our nice attire for guests. We spend all that money but keep our fine things in the china and clothes closets for special appearances a few times a year. Any day is worthy of our fine wares. We make a concerted effort to share with others something for which we're grateful. We can share something for which we're grateful  every day, even if it's that we woke up this morning. After all, some did not have the privilege. These are some of the things we do on Thanksgiving. But I want to get better at incorporating these activities into my life on a regular basis. I want to have a heart of thanksgiving--every day. Acknowledging my blessings, giving thanks, routinely utilizing what I've worked hard for, and sharing with others are things I can and should do in thought, word, and/or deed on any day.
 
 
Have you ever envied someone? I distinctly recall two times I've envied people. One was when my best friend in grade school had to wear glasses. I liked that wearing glasses made her stand out, so I pretended to have trouble seeing. The end result? I was prescribed glasses I didn't need, and now have terrible eyesight. The second time was when a friend received an employment opportunity I thought I deserved. The end result? I ended up getting the best job I've ever had. Lessons? The first experience taught me that trying to be like someone else can result in self-inflicted harm with lifetime consequences. The second experience taught me that a missed opportunity can be a blessing in disguise.

When we envy others, do we stop to consider whether we can drink the cup? Drinking the cup means living what they've lived through, or are living through, to have what they have. Are we willing to pay the cost? Rarely. We want their glory without living their story. Most of us have lived long enough to learn not to judge a book by its cover. But when we envy, isn't that what we do? We look at someone else's situation and because it looks appealing we assume it is. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Many folks whose lives look good are suffering, or have suffered, tremendous pain. And/or, they've made many sacrifices or compromises along the way. But because they don't show the sacrifice or pain associated with their lives, we covet what they appear to have. And then, what if we get it? Because we have to live with the consequences should we realize that what we envied appeared better than the reality of it.

In envying others, we're so busy looking at what someone else has that we can't fully see what we have. Let's turn envy into inspiration. Let others' success, victories, joys, and opportunities inspire us first to appreciate what we already have, and then to work hard to improve our lives based on our own hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations. And then when it's time to drink from a cup, we won't need to try to sip from someone else's. We'll see that there's tremendous fulfillment in drinking from our own cup.
 
 
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Living My Joy
Whenever I see this sculpture, I'm reminded of life's walls. They come in many shapes, sizes, textures, and dimensions. Some seem insurmountable. And walls serve different purposes. Some act as protection. Some as detours. Some as complete barriers. Some as nuisances. Some as tests. Some walls are dangerous to touch or climb. Some can be climbed over, passed under, or walked around. Some can be razed. And some walls require breaking through. But how can we know? Whether it's a hope, dream, goal, or daily life, I have found through much trial and error that the only way to approach my life's walls is through prayer for discernment. In its absence, I've suffered many broken bones or gotten stuck trying to break through walls that were intended to protect me or teach me lessons. It's important to know which walls are meant to be broken through, and which are not.