Thursday, January 3, 2013

I choose JOY

Yesterday was the first day back for teachers and today is the first day back with the students. In a little more than one week there will be mid-term exams for my school. That means that next Friday will be the end of classes with all of my current students and I will get a new crew of student artists to work with starting second semester on Tuesday, January 22nd. I seriously cannot believe that first semester is pretty much over and second might as well be here already. 

As for the rest of it all? I will be taking six graduate level credit courses and three undergraduate credit courses (studio art for content knowledge) in order to continue my pursuit for what feels like the ever elusive Masters of Arts in Teaching (for Visual Art Education) degree that I *might* finally be awarded in 2014. (Maybe.) 

As indicated by my previous posting about my official retirement from photography?  Well, I spent my holiday break not only trying to celebrate Christmas and the turn of the new year with my family but also sitting at the computer post-processing over 2000 images from the last two weddings of my photography career. There are two open jobs (one senior portrait session and one family session) that I were booked for last Fall but never happened and so they might end up happening in the coming weeks/months but I have yet to confirm that officially with the clients so I really and truly might be officially retired from all of the photography work as of now. Funny enough as soon as I was back on campus, a colleague of mine approached me because her husband is a VERY well-established and well-known photographer and he is in desperate need of reinforcements in the post-processing of his images so she asked me if I would be interested in doing some hourly photoshop and design work for him. *sigh* 

For as much as I have fussed about it all? I was chomping at the bit to do anything but say No to her offer. Why? Because that was the old me that I wasn't so happy with and this is a new year and I have a new opportunity to keep doing what I feel like I should have always been doing to begin with which is NOT be an insane workaholic visual artist who is trying to get in every which direction at one time. It's gotten me nowhere I really wanted to be and so this year? It's time to try something completely new which leads me here...

I guess you could call this a little bit of a New Year's resolution of sorts but I don't know that this qualifies as such really.

Ever heard of blogger Ali Edwards? She has been doing a campaign (if you will) every year since 2007 called "One Little Word" where she takes the idea of a New Years resolution and makes it something a little bit less of a resolution that can be easily forgotten about and (thus) abandoned and instead takes the approach of establishing a theme and focus for your life and year. The word can be just about anything but it should be something that you can use to help you to approach and deal with the things of the year that might come at you whether positive or negative. Ali's word this year is "open" but others have used other such things like love, peace, hope, strength, etc. 

I never heard of this "One Little Word" movement before recently and it resonated with me and seemed like a "cool" idea but as quickly as I stumbled upon it I just kind of forgot about it and didn't make a point to try and revisit it. And then something weird happened. I just started stumbling back on the idea and the word JOY just kept presenting itself back to me almost like a signpost from the good Lord Himself. It pretty much got to the point that I couldn't ignore the literal "one little word" that IS joy and I finally submitted to participating in the movement myself.

Joy is such a special word for me in so many different ways. It is an acronym used for my classroom management (I'll share more about this soon enough). It is also the very thing that I have learned has been missing from so much of my life before recent months which includes my experiences/life as a wife, mother, teacher, daughter, and generally woman of the Lord. The word itself is so small in physical presence but its meaning is just so much more enormous such that I feel like it really is hard to quantify. To me, joy is kind of like happiness on steroids only without the bad connotations that comes from something being on steroids. To me, joy easily the best thing you could ever imagine that just doesn't stop ever and carries on long after it first started existing so long as you just let it exist.

There is a whole online workshop that Ali Edwards runs to help carry out the whole business of the "One Little Word" movement but I am not quite sure that I will go that deep into the movement just yet. (You can join it at any time during the year and it's reasonably cheap.) I am thinking that I am going to keep doing what I have found to be success finding that has got me to this point and I am going to hitch my heart to exploring the idea and the presence of JOY in life so that I am dreaming, praying, and then eventually creating it into existence in my own life. I trust nothing other than Christ Jesus as it stands with any of the ideas I have ever had (harebrained or not) but I know that every time I have placed one of them in front of Him, they have always turned out better than I ever could have made them happen. And so? I choose JOY and I present it alone to the Lord God for Him to help me to learn what it is, how it looks and feels, where it exists (or where it doesn't exist), And (most importantly) how to create it in a way that is so sacred it can't be torn apart and can endure forever. 


  1. Hi,

    Funny you should bring this up. Our pastor of the church we are now attending has just written a book with a similar theme, My One Word. is the website about the book and all. I thought you might like to check it out. I'm still reading through the book, and picking my word.
    I know what you mean about being busy. I hope that you will make good choices this year and not do things out of feeling obligated, but that you will do what needs to be done. Hope that makes sense. Thanks for the post!:) Still alitttle long HAHA;)

    1. Thanks for the link, Doug! I checked it out and didn't have a ton of time to look at it but I was pretty intrigued by just the cursory glance I was able to make at least. What a blessing that you are able to attend the church of the book's author! Surely his sermons must be very thought provoking, heart nudging, and just plain curious since he authored such a book.

  2. I just read about something similar this past weekend, too! I think I've settled on my word, though I've gone the route of choosing a verb--devote.

    1. I don't have much experience in knowing the options other than that of the realm I picked (since it is one of the fruits of the spirit) but what a unique and powerful word that is. It seems to have such great depth for you to really explore and apply to so many different paths life can take in one year. :)


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