I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging for a while now (I’m guessing most new bloggers start with that sentence).  It seems like I always have this running commentary in my head, so why not share it?  After all, some of my friends, colleagues, and family blog.  Why not me?

I titled this blog Blooming Joy as a combination of two lessons God has been teaching me over the past few years.  First, Blooming comes from an illustration by Mary Engelbreit titled “Bloom Where You’re Planted.”  I’ve love ME’s work since I was in junior high, and this one in particular.  It has always reminded me to find the opportunities to grow, improve, and enjoy life wherever I find myself.  That has come in handy in the midst of moving several times in my life.

Being a good Lutheran, I try to look at what is law and what is gospel.  I spent a lot of time struggling to admit that this “blooming” business felt so much like a command and not an invitation to me.  That’s where the joy part comes in.  Joy has been my buzz word for the past twelve months.  Last August I attended a residency at Concordia St. Paul to begin a year-long process towards being certified as a Director of Christian Education (DCE).  During our time there, we participated in several worship experiences, including an evening prayer service called Taize.  The liturgy is very repetitive, and in the midst of one song I find myself focusing on the word joy as it cycled through the chorus.  In that moment I felt this overwhelming sense of God’s presence, and I was struck by the knowledge that I continually deny myself joy in my life.  As the tears rolled down my face, I realized that this was Gospel, the grace of God, which cleared away all of the distractions to show me that He wants me to have joy in my life!

I took these two themes, the Blooming theme that served as part of the title for my master’s thesis, and Joy, which has been my personal theme this year, to title this blog.  I hope to continue to share my thoughts along the way.