Today I’m turning 42, and while I hoped to tell you 42 things that I’ve learned in my last 42 years of life, I think I’m resorting to telling you 42 things that have brought me joy over the years. I’m hopeful that I could come up with 420 things, but for the sake of your time and mine, we’ll stick to 42.
I’m not one that wakes up daily and lists out the things I’m grateful for, but if I were, this would be my list today on May 6, 2020 — my forty-second birthday!
- Another day alive. It’s true. The older I get, the more I see illness overtake people's lives and I’m grateful for one more day here with my people.
- Jesus. I have been following him for twenty-one years now, and I’m only who I am because he continues to love me in spite of myself.
- Aaron. We have been married for almost 19 years and yet I still feel like each year I learn new things about him. I’m so grateful that God saw us fit for each other. He’s not only my best friend and lover but my favorite human I’ve ever known! (Cheesy, I know, but it’s for real truth!)
- My kids. How did I get this lucky? My oldest, Cayden, is one of the kindest souls that I know. He genuinely cares about those around him and wants the best for everyone.
- Amos has a desire deep in him for everyone to be happy around him. He is kind and gentle and all of his teachers adore him!
- Deacon is my child that still snuggles with me and I know that my time with that is almost done. He is the hardest working 14-year old that I know, and always the first to volunteer to help out with a project.
- Story, our only girl, and princess. She is strong, courageous, and will be a leader when she’s older. Her joy in life is contagious and I’m thankful for it.
- My new dress from Flaunt Boutique. I wore it yesterday and felt feminine for the first time in a while! #corona #rona #quarantinelife
- My son is building me a bench for my garden for my birthday – he’s surprising me with it today and I am giddy with joy to see his hard work all for his mama!
- Worship music. Life has been hard for so many of us these past few months. I can’t stop worshiping to IN THE HANDS OF CHRIST by Austin Stone Worship and GRAVES INTO GARDENS by Elevation Worship.
- Books. I just finished BEHIND CLOSED DOORS and loved it! I’m now reading THE GREAT ALONE and everyone tells me it is their favorite book ever!
- Ecclesiastes & Jeremiah — I’m knee-deep in both of these books and God is teaching me new things about Him and His character each day.
- Traveling — what a privilege to be able to see so much of our world. In the past year, I’ve been to Italy, Mexico, and Rwanda. I don’t take this for granted and am thankful to visit this beautiful earth that God created and meet people all around the world!
- My mom. She has taught me what it means to serve those around you without expecting anything in return. I’m grateful for that lesson in life.
- My dad. He shows his emotions and I have never for one moment doubted his love for me.
- Mayonnaise. If you know me, then you know. I have a thing for mayo and wish I could put it on everything I ever eat for the rest of my life.
- Relevant Podcast – I have loved every time I’ve been on this show before and now I get to join them every week. It’s just a fun spot in my week that I look forward to!
- Better Together tv show – you know I have a dream to do my podcast on tv and every time I get the opportunity to join the cast of Better Together my heart does a happy dance!
- My brother has grown so much in the past decade and I’m beyond proud of him and his story that he’s sharing with the world. He and his wife are dear to me!
- My church. I was asked the other day about how I thought my church had affected me and I beamed with pride to say that under the leadership and teaching of my church I have grown more in my faith over the past decade than any other years in my life!
- Counseling. I never thought I needed counseling. I thought that was reserved for those that were in need of BIG HELP. Yet, here I am a few years into my counseling journey and I am thankful for the BIG HELP I’m getting! Counseling is one of the best things I’ve done for myself over the past few years.
- My home. We moved out to what we call “the country” 4.5 years ago and it’s one of the best things we have ever done. I feel so safe and calm out here – two things I love feeling!
- My work. Ten years ago I never would have imagined loving my work so much. I love it so much. The stories that have been shared with me on The Happy Hour are precious to me and I never take it lightly when someone opens up to me about the work God is doing in them.
- Yesterday, I taught on faithfulness versus success and it was a joy to teach that message. It is for an online retreat and the fact that I was able to prepare a message and teach was such a joy to me. I miss that right now!
- My team makes me so grateful! Amanda Brown has been with me the longest and she now runs all of our events — which we had to cancel our May event so we’re all a bit sad over that! She’s been a beautiful friend to me for years and years.
- Aki has done our show notes and newsletters for a while. She is a servant to the core!
- Lyndsey is my office manager, podcast producer, scheduler of my life, and she even reminds me where I put things often and she doesn’t even live with me. I’m so grateful to her.
- Skinny dipped almonds are bringing me so much joy. It’s an almond dipped in dark chocolate espresso. I buy them and immediately take them to my office and don’t allow anyone to have them. They are all mine!
- Food Tours. I went on one to Charleston last year with Amy Hannon AKA Euna Mae, and I still had so much fun! Anything that has to do with food makes me thankful!
- My age. For real. When I was in my 30’s, I thought I had life figured out. I’ve since discovered that I have nothing figured out. I think my 40’s will be my best so far, and that is exciting to me!
- Friends that listen so well. Amy, Noelle, Annie, Amanda, Taylor — y’all are dear to me. You have heard your share of pity parties from me this past month. I’m thankful you keep listening to me and answering my texts. 😉
- Friends to vacation with. Last Summer we went to Italy with the Otts and when you find friends you can travel with and still love each other after, hold them close.
- Walks. I have always loved walks in my neighborhood but during quarantine, they have been so life-giving.
- Carly Jean clothing. I am a newbie to this brand and I have officially ordered fallen in love. Have you shopped here? Their clothes are bringing me such joy! My newest dress will be here next week and I can’t wait!
- Football. I’m gonna be honest with you about this one. I’m a little worried about football not being with us this Fall. That would NOT bring me joy. But watching football does bring me joy!
- Songland and The Voice are bringing the whole Ivey family joy! Both of these shows are fun for us to watch together as a family!
- Rambler Sparkling water has now become my favorite water on the planet!!! Seriously. If you see this in the grocery store grab a lot because you will love it!
- My dogs. Marfa and Landry are two of my favorite things in life right now. Aaron always says that anyone that is parenting teenagers needs dogs. Our dogs never talk back to us, they are excited to see us every time we come home, they snuggle with us, and I even believe they know when we are sad.
- My garden. You guys, I literally sit in my garden daily and imagine when I will see vegies! And guess what? I see them! They are coming. In all the years I have tried to grow anything, this will be my first year to have veggies and I am so excited!
- My kids' teachers. Seriously we knew they were good before, but now they are champs.
- You all know I love big earrings and these new ones are giving me all the fun feelings every time I put them on. Lilac, leopard, and army green YES PLEASE!!
- YOU – for real. If you are a podcast listener, a blog reader, a book reader, or however else we know each other I’m so very thankful for you.
There it is. 42 things that I thought of that are bringing me joy right now. I’m certain there are more, but for today this list is good. Thanks for playing along!
CONNECT WITH JAMIE
You asked what book or such is bringing us joy during this time. Of course my grand babies! I was so disappointed for my missions trip to be canceled. Every year I visit little girls ages 2 to 12 who are rescued from sex trafficking. I really wanted to help them so I decided to do something different to help them. I’m nearly finished writing a book about all the ways they have taught me to reach for the stars. My grandmother always told me the best way to help yourself is to help others. And it’s so true. As I write, although it’s a heavy topic, it has brought me great joy and hope!