Earlier in the year I spoke of intention words. I chose Joy as my word for the year. The idea being to create joy around me, to look for joy and seize it whenever I could, and to share joy with those around me. Well, over the weekend I literally seized the joy with the purchase of this splendid stamp. I even got a good deal in the bargain, having caught a half price sale at Hobby Lobby. As for the joy in my life, I have seen it increase in the last few months and have begun to see a pattern. As I do things that are true to my faith, beliefs, and myself I find more and more joy all around me. This should, I suppose, be perfectly obvious. Somehow, I think, most of us don’t realize just how true this is. I have started to focus more on the things I feel the most passionate about such as bible class and World Bible School. This has meant not participating in some church activities so more time and attention can be spent with these two projects. Another change I’ve made is to read more. Those of you who know me might be a bit surprised by this statement. In truth, however, I had fallen out of the habit of reading as much as I used to do. School had a part in this. Between papers and tests and such there just seemed to be little time for reading. I am making the time once again and keeping the TV turned off more and more. I’ve also found exercise and begun including it in my life as a priority. With this new routine I’ve learned how much better I feel when I exercise. I feel more youthful, slimmer, and more energetic. It’s beginning to be more about the exercise than simply about losing weight. These are the biggest changes I’ve made and they have led to more joy in my life. I encourage all of you to find the things you are passionate about and jump in with both feet. This doesn’t mean being selfish. Remember we must love ourselves before we can “love thy neighbor as thyself.” How can we possibly love ourselves if we don’t know who we are? So, find the things that bring you joy and share that joy with others!