Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What brings me joy (Plus a granola recipe worth rejoicing over)

Grilling out for lunch on a snow day...
The warm sunshine spilling out from between the blinds after a week of snow...
An encouraging conversation with a friend that lasts two hours...
Watching a client's eyes light up with realization during a coaching session...
The taste of sweet-n-saltiness in my morning granola (see recipe below)...
All these things and more bring me joy.

I experience joy in the small, unexpected graces of every day and also in the big realizations when I am fully living into who I was created to be.

Yet it's not necessarily these things in and of themselves that bring joy but rather the recognizing and paying attention to them.

When I go about my day and eat that same cereal as a means to end... 
When I ask the same coaching questions as a sense of responsibility not opportunity...
When a date with a friend runs long and I view it as throwing off my schedule... 
These prevent joy. 

Instead, it's the change in perspective that brings the joy

As author Ann Voskamp says, the height of our joy depends on the depths of our thanks. "As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible." 

Yet so often I start the day with expectations and standards, and then I'm only thankful or joyful when those are met. 

What if we stepped forward into our day expecting nothing but uncovering joyful moments? What if the only expectation that we had was the expectant hope found in Christ?

"I always pray with joy... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:3-6). 

As the footnote in my Crossway ESV Bible says, "The joy that Paul calls for is not a happiness that depends on circumstances but a deep contentment that is in the Lord, based on trust in the sovereign, living God, and that therefore is available always, even in difficult times." 

There is deep joy found in living out the mission that God has called you to and abiding in His every day graces.

To celebrate the every day small joys, here's some pictures of the snow day last week and a delicious new recipe for granola. (Despite John initially joking that the granola was "birdseed," he actually loved it and ate it for a snack every day.)

Grilling out on snow day last week

The parking lot to the zoo by our house.
I wasn't overly joyful about the snow itself, but John being home this time
and taking an evening walk in the snow together were reasons to be joyful.

Sweet and Salty Granola

I based this recipes off of Bon Appetit's granola but then made it my own.
Serves 12
3 cups oats
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (I did a mix of walnuts, cashews, and almonds)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp. flax seeds
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds
1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup warmed coconut oil
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup mix of raisins and golden raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine oats through sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add in egg white, honey, coconut oil, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Toss to combine.
  3. Spread out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet, sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Bake granola, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes or until granola is golden brown. 
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes.
  6. Stir in raisins and store in an airtight container.

Today I'm linking up with Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart


  1. Great post! I've been counting gifts this year! Focusing on my one word for 2014: Gratitude.
    I love this..."Yet so often I start the day with expectations and standards, and then I'm only thankful or joyful when those are met."
    Expectations kill joy! Thanks for the reminder.
    Stopping by from the link up....

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer! Our gratitude journal has made such a difference in our lives!

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