Is joy a choice?

This thought from Bella Grace magazine:

It’s easy to fall into the trap of equating being busy with being worthy and fulfilled. Take a moment and let the world fall quiet around you. What truly brings you joy?


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The simple things of life bring me joy—those things I would miss if they were taken from me:

1. A second chance at love after widowhood—oh, deepest joy.

2. Planning a new life with Dan, scheming together to do as much good as we possibly can while this planet is still twirling.

3. Baking. Being in the kitchen and baking brings me joy.

4. Being part of a family that loves well.

5. Grandkids that come in such a variety of fun ages/stages.

6. Beauty in nature.


Swampy Lakes trail a couple days ago

7. Snow-shoeing in the neighboring Cascade Mountains.

8. The freedom and health and mobility to get outdoors—something I never want to take for granted.

9. Drinking homemade Chai tea, hot out of a thermos. Oh, sweet joy.


Chai tea break

These—and so many other simple things—fill me to the overflowing mode.

But what about those of us who have lost something of infinite value? Like a spouse or other family member? Our health? A job? Our ability to think and plan? Our capacity to create beauty in the form of words or photos or dance?

Priscilla Shirer made this statement in an interview with Annie F. Downs:

We can hold grief in one hand, but there’s a joy in the other hand.

The only way we can hold grief in one hand and joy in the other is by choosing to do so.

Oswald Chambers weighs in on our choices:

The decrees of God are birth and death, and in between those limits man makes his own distress or joy.

And so—if I can borrow from Andy Sixx who wrote, “Take too many pictures, laugh too much and love like you’ve never been hurt …”—I would say:

Get outdoors too often. Linger too long over Chai tea. Hug too much. Write too many encouraging notes. Express too much gratitude. Do good too frequently.

And see if the joy doesn’t rain down all around us, even as we’re dealing with the hard and holy things of this life.


Photo by Kolby Milton on Unsplash

What if?

The lyrics to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” remind us to let nothing dismay us, to remember that on Christmas Day we commemorate the birth of Christ who came to save us from the power of Satan.

This lovely, timeworn song ends like this:

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

What a great old-fashioned word—tidings. It simply means a piece of good news.

Even though pain and stress and sorrow are part of living on this broken planet, what if we accepted the good news that Christ came to earth to bring comfort and joy? That He came to reunite us in relationship with our Father God?

And what if we could embrace this comfort, this joy?

We can. Because He did.


What if we showed up for life?


Difference Makers: One load of wood at a time


  1. Tom F Stutheit

    Very good and especially now with so much to deal with in unknown ideas and the pandemic.

  2. Praising God for the insights He gives you, Marlys, and thanking you for sharing them with us, your readers.

  3. Pat

    So much truth right here. Thank you for sharing!
    Blessings to the two of you, together you are doing so many positive things…

  4. Nancy Whitlatch

    I enjoy your blog so much. I don’t get to all of them, but more often than not, something pulls me in. This one was no exception. Once more you hit the mark. Reminders of what the season truly is about. You bring me joy! Merry Christmas to you and Dan!

  5. Tracey

    Thank you, Marlys for your comforting words as I try and press into His comfort and joy in the midst of my pain.

  6. Tanya Neelon

    Hi Marlys,

    I’ve never tried Chai tea and was wondering which brand you buy so that I can try it. You drink a lot of it
    so I would value your opinion. Thanks and Merry Christmas to you and Dan!


    • Tanya, I guess I do mention chai tea a good deal in my blogs, don’t I. Not that I’m a chai addict, or anything. 😉 I used to purchase one of those powdered chai tea mixes – one you would find at places like Trader Joe’s. But now I make my own powder mix. I’ll send the recipe to your email address.

  7. Julie A Miller

    Thankyou for the comfort and joy you bring with your words of inspiration and love.
    Merry Christmas Marlys????????????❤

  8. Eileen Chiechi

    Your writing always up lift me. Thanks and have a great Christmas and may the New Year be a great one for all of us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2024 Marlys Johnson