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Acknowledging Pain, Living in Joy - July 20

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

~ Psalm 16:11

Happiness is a choice. A repetitive one.

~ Akilnathan Logaswaran

We have a choice in life whether to look at the things that bring joy and happiness to ourselves and others, or whether to focus on all the negative. There's plenty to see either way and where we choose to keep our focus largely determines how we see life.

So my question today is "What is the happiest part of your daily routine?"

Reading is one one the happiest parts of my daily routine. I am currently reading four different books and each of these books opens my eyes to a different way of looking at the world. It's a fascinating experience to watch my own perceptions shift as I learn new things.

Some other parts of my daily routine that bring me joy are prepping lesson materials and then having the privilege of teaching, cooking a variety of meals and providing nourishment for my family and the children each day, and documenting this crazy life I get to live with those I love.

And, speaking of this crazy life, here is some of our day today.

There was a lot of playing with cars and trucks . . .

Some cooking . . .

And some building. . .

We read stories and learned about seasons and weather . . .

Lots of jumping. . .

And lots of work . . .

And this evening I let the ducks and chickens out to play in the yard awhile. They loved running around and did a good job of putting themselves up for the night when it started to get dark.

And this is a bit of an abrupt change of subject but here is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately.

When you ask a veteran when they were last "over there," know that in many cases the real answer is "every night." ~ Unknown

This quote describes the reality that many of our veterans live with every day. I've observed this first hand and read more about it in this book that gives an in-depth look PTSD in combat veterans and how it effects their lives and the lives of those close to them in daily life. It's something I had a little knowledge of in the past but only recently am I coming to realize the severity of the problem, and the strength, the determination, and the depth of heart of those who most constantly live with it.

Other veterans spoke of lying down at night and waiting for a few meager hours of sleep, needing the rest and yet dreading the dreams that might accompany it. Eighty percent of veterans interviewed reported having at least occasional nightmares about their military experiences, and more than a third said that they had nightmares moderately or extremely often. Brian told me that he doesn't freak, but said also that he wakes up in the night with his heart racing, his body slick with sweat, sometimes in tears and unable to explain why. Jesse dreams of sleeping in camp in Iraq and waking to find himself covered in snakes and scorpions that crawled over him in the dark. One of the women I interviewed, a career officer in the air force who served as a nurse in Afghanistan, described nightmares of Afghani children torn apart by an IED. She wakes to the silence of her empty house and turns on the TV to blur the images remaining in her mind.

~ pg. 59

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