“Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart

that pumps through all those who don’t

numb themselves to really living.”

 —Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Salt and pepper, sweet and sour, comedy and drama—polar opposites that complement each other, enhancing the whole. Let’s face it—too much salt and not enough pepper prunes the tongue and scrunches the nose, ruining the taste. Too much sweet sickens the stomach, diminishing its appeal, diluting the wonder of favorite things like peach cobbler, red velvet cake or Reeses Cups. And I’m sorry, but those things are TOO wonderful to not enjoy fully.

And just when does one enjoy favorite things more fully? Well, how ‘bout that first burst of sweetness from a Hershey bar after a diet? That low moan when you sample a favorite dessert you haven’t had in a long, long time? Or even that first savor of chunky chicken noodle soup that you can finally taste when you’re appetite returns after the flu? The truth is NOTHING in life would look, taste, feel, smell or sound as good if there wasn’t a polar opposite to heighten the joy of things we love, an absence makes the heart grow fonder, if you will.

And actually, it’s the same thing with drama and comedy, as I point out in my Seeker blog this week entitled “Ho-Ho-Ho! Funny You should Say That … Or Putting Humor in our Writing (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2011/12/ho-ho-ho-funny-you-should-say-that-or.html). Which, by the way, has a giveaway going on until tonight, Friday evening at 5:00 PM, for winner’s choice of a signed copy of any of my books or a top CBA book from my personal library and the detailed handout from Ruth Axtell Morren’s and my ACFW Workshop, “A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss.” So do drop by if you get a chance, okay, because I hope it will give you a chuckle or two during this hectic holiday season.

You see, this blog on humor points out all too well how humor helps to enhance a dramatic scene as well as provide comic relief from anything too heavy. And quite frankly, too much humor makes my jaws ache from laughing and my stomach hurt because the bottom line is, we need the one to really enjoy the other.

Unfortunately, this is a fact I learned all too well this week. You see, I got some pretty distressing news that pulled the plug on my Christmas joy, popped my bubble of enthusiasm and yes—passion—to leave me flat, dull and without the slightest desire to open my laptop. The fire and fervor that usually flows through my veins sludged to a cold stop, robbing me of the ability to work on things with deadlines looming. I moped, I cried, I got mad. And then I got on my knees.

Oh the highs of lows of being a human being! That roller-coaster of laughter and tears, success and failure that zooms us to the heights, only to careen us into the valleys below. And yet, without the lows, the highs would never be fully appreciated and would, in fact, become commonplace and dull, grossly unappreciated, evoking little or no gratitude.

And gratitude, my dear friends, is everything. It’s the path to joy as Ann Voskamp so beautifully points out in one of the most AMAZING non-fiction books I have EVER read, the New York Times bestseller, One Thousand Gifts (A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are).

Soooo … how can the negatives of a being a human being—sickness, financial difficulties, conflict, etc.—possibly enhance our lives, you ask? Oh, honey, by drawing us closer to HIM, because when push comes to shove, hurt comes to tears, hope comes to despair, the God who loves us with “an everlasting love,” Who guards us as the “apple of His eye” is waiting to scoop us up, dry our tears and adjust our perspective. Gently, lovingly whispering in our ear that that awful thing that so disappointed us never did or ever could contain the joy we so desperately seek. No amount of success, money or even blessing from the hand of God such as a wonderful marriage and life, can EVER fulfill like the love of God. To teach the ongoing lesson that it’s only the lows, the valleys, the pain … that will set us free from focus on self, which like too much “sweet,” sickens the soul.

Today, the laptop is open and the hearth fire burning again, both in my cozy, twinkle-light hearth room and in my heart. Passion runs high once again because I know I have a God who loves me SO much, He takes great pains to keep my focus on Him—the true source of all joy, hope and peace. Like a loving parent who insists a child wear seatbelts no matter the tantrum, He knows our journey is SO much more enjoyable and safe when we rest in His arms and are girded by His precepts. It’s not about the pretty sights we pass as we look out the window, it’s about the destination and the journey home … where hearth fires burn and His love warms our souls. Home to Him … the God who has a plan and a purpose for each of us if only we focus on God instead of our circumstances, praising Him, thanking Him in the midst of good and bad, sweet or sour, laughter or tears. Because He is the God of all, the Light to our dark, the Hope to our despair and the true Path for our souls.


DECEMBER 8-27, 2011

Join me at Project Journal blog for my SECOND final interview giveaway of 2011 to win a signed copy of one of my books including my new release, A Heart Revealed AND a copy of the very detailed handout from Ruth Axtell Morren’s and my ACFW Workshop, “A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss.”


Have a GREAT weekend and s-l-o-w- down to enjoy the season!