In the world around us there are so many opportunities to find joy. We often miss those opportunities because we are thinking of other things, or because we just choose not to enjoy what we are doing.
I am reading a book right now by Charles R. Swindoll. My mother loved this author and she had many of his books on her shelves. When she died, I kept a lot of her books. Just last week I began reading Swindoll’s book entitled, “Laugh Again, Experience Outrageous Joy.” It is indeed a good book. The Biblical basis for the content is taken from the book of Philippians, which is a short book of the New Testament containing letters from Paul to the people of Philippi. While in prison, Paul experienced great joy in spite of his current circumstances, and he wrote letters of encouragement to the Philippians.
This past weekend, I found joy in everything I encountered and experienced. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you what I did, and how much fun I had doing it. For some people, my weekend may seem to be less eventful than their own, as many have travelled the world, seeing sights that I have seen only through the pictures of others. However, I also know that enjoyment is “in the eyes of the beholder” and I had a great weekend!
My weekend started on Friday with an opportunity to ride in an airplane owned and piloted by Bill Hoffrage of Madera. Now, that was fun! He took me up in his bright yellow biplane, and he gave me a bird’s eye view tour of Madera County.
Friday night, my husband and I attended a wonderful event in the Lumbertown Building at the fairgrounds. It was a dinner hosted by the Heritage Foundation, called “A Night at the Races.” I had never heard of this event before, and it was not advertised in The Madera Tribune. On Wednesday I just happened to see a flyer that was posted on the window of the bank. The event sounded like fun, and the ticket prices were not bad, compared to some other recent events in town, so I took down the phone number to get tickets.
When we arrived at the event, we were told we could sit at any table that was not reserved by a group. Open seats were not so easy to spot, so we sat at a table that had two chairs that were not resting against the table as if they were “taken.” We decided if someone told us to move, we would find another place. As it turned out, we had chosen the table reserved by Tom Mitchell and his wife, Carrie. Tom is the CEO of Madera District Fair. He and his wife were very gracious in allowing us to sit at their table. We were soon glad we had chosen this place to sit. They treated us almost as if we had been invited by them to the event.
“A Night at the Races” is an annual event that is a fundraiser for the fairgrounds. There were silent auction items, raffles, dessert auctions, and horse betting. The horse races are videotaped races played on a screen. The bets are placed in the same way as the real horse races, but the winnings are tickets for the raffle items. It was a lot of fun. The food was delicious, and the company was great!
Saturday was another great day of joy for us. We left for Veteran’s Park in Chowchilla to attend a barbecue to honor their local law enforcement folks. It was both fun and inspirational, as we stood and listened to the Reverend Richard Walker talk about our first responders, who never know what they will encounter when they are called to act on behalf of the community. He encouraged us to remember them in prayer daily, and to show our support and encouragement to them at every opportunity.
After enjoying our time in Chowchilla, we tootled on back to Madera for an event at our church on Saturday night. This was an event we call “Just 4 Fun.” A few months ago we started having these events once a month, just for fun. It is a time of food and fellowship. Saturday was taco and trivia night. Each table enjoyed their delicious taco dishes, and then we played a fun trivia game, in which each table team was to draw pictures of animals based on the hints given to us by the master of ceremonies, Philip Janzen. I laughed so hard I just about split a seam. What a fun night is was for us all!
Sunday morning was the icing on the cake for a joyous weekend. It was Mother’s Day. This is a special day for us all. I dearly love my mother, and I miss her. It is a privilege to remember and honor a woman who was there when I was born, nurtured me throughout my childhood, my teens, and adulthood; and she loved me in spite of myself. This person deserved to be honored.
Joy is a wonderful feeling. However, joy comes from the inside, and not from what we see or do or attend. Although an enjoyable event may make us laugh, or make us forget our worries, it is through our inward willingness to appreciate life that gives us true joy.
Have a great and joyous week!
— My love to all,
• • •
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!”
— Philippians 4:4