Are you EXTRA?

Our world wants to polarize us–are you basic? or are you extra? Really, aren’t we a little of both? Pop culture will tell you that you’re basic if you love fall, pumpkin spice lattes and Ugg boots. Really, though, what’s wrong with any of those? And you’re extra if you love a little glitz, some attention, maybe get dramatic about things from your eyeliner, to being a bit dramatic about the way your coworker “accidentally” ate your yogurt from the staff fridge.

But what about the cool things you experience in your journey? The people whose lives run into yours, whose stories enthrall and inspire you, or bring your to your knees in gratitude for your great fortune? I’m here to talk about those stories. Hurt, healing, defeat, triumph, standing over our personal Goliaths. Let’s celebrate the extra in the ordinary.

What’s in a name?

Have you ever thought about your given name? For some of you, you were given a family name. For others a name that was popular for your generation. You were named after someone your parents admired. For others, just because it had a nice ring with your surname. I assume your parents gave you your name. They must have had a reason. Have you ever looked up the meaning behind your name(s)? It’s rather fascinating. My first and middle name mean almost the same thing: Joyce – joyful spirit and Carol – song of joy. Really. Overkill. A friend of mine noted that my full name made me sound like an old white woman from Florida. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing in agreement. I used to dislike my name because I always thought it made me feel old. According to a website that tells you what year your name was most popular among named babies, Joyce was most popular the year my mother was born–1944. I was born in 1978–the year of Jennifers, Jessicas and Stephanies. Oh, how I longed to have one of these names. To not be told that I have the same name as friend’s grandma or great aunt. In fact, as an 8 year old, I oddly enough longed for the name Bianca. I can’t tell you why. It just sounded exotic and classy to me. Now, I embrace it. It was my parents’ hope that I would be happy and my life filled with joy. Learning that it was a wish has made all the difference to me. And now as I am an adult, who has walked with the Lord for over 25 years, I have experienced joy like no other. I’m thankful that I can live out my namesake. Even if your name’s meaning holds no bearing on your life (for example, daughter #2’s name means “one with a crooked nose”), what hope did your parents or whoever had the honor of naming you have for you and your life?

Rejoycing now

This is a terrifying thing for me…blogging. It is the wearing of my heart on my sleeve to strangers, but most terrifying–to the people who know me, and I them. Yet. I’ve been pulled in this direction…to tell my story. In bits and pieces, as the Lord has been revealing to me parts of my life that have been and are being healed, restored and REDEEMED. They are my stories, but they were written by Him and I’m going to tell them, because someone, somewhere, will read these stories and something will resonate with them. They might be encouraged, challenged, comforted. All I know is that I can’t stay silent. We, as God’s precious works of art, cannot remain hidden, but displayed on walls and in courtyards and street corners. Because how else will people see God here on earth?