Finding Your Joy Again | Guest Interview with Stacy Park of Spark Wholeness

At the beginning of the year, I shared that I had been through a really rough previous year but how I also felt like I was finally coming up for air. I also talked about the importance of opening up to others about struggles, so that you can have support from your community and not go through life alone. 

Last weekend I met up with my friend, Stacy, and we talked about similar experiences and offered mutual support to one another regarding finding joy again. It was such an encouraging and refreshing time to be open, honest, and vulnerable about seasons of joyless-ness while also knowing that these seasons don’t last forever. Sometimes it is actually the tough times that produce the most joy. How can you truly identify what joy is unless you haven’t had it for a while? In the Bible, in the book of James, it is explained that those who follow Christ should actually count trials as joy because we will be strengthened and He has promised that we will not be lacking in anything!

James 1:2-6

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

After Stacy and I talked about life and things we were learning, we transitioned into talking about JOY! I had some questions prepared beforehand and below is a summary of what we discussed. I had hoped to type this in a dialogue style, but we had such a great time talking that it just became impossible to write down everything we spoke about. We talked, and talked, and talked. Aren’t friendships great?? I hope that you will be encouraged by our discussion. Also, if you follow my Facebook page or IG, I have videos linked from a live-chat that Stacy and I had for her website. 

What does joy mean to you? And what is the opposite of joy?

“Joy is a choice that needs to be made everyday! It is turning from pain and giving all your pain, worries, and care to the Lord–knowing that He will fight for you and give you joy (Exodus 14:13-14). Pain leads to growth and growth leads to joy! The opposite of joy is pain–and often times they both come hand-in-hand.”

What does joy look like to you on the inside? And what about the outside?

“Internally, joy begins with the mind. You have to focus on what is good and the blessings that God has given to you. Internal joy is being able to practice gratitude, even when your flesh doesn’t want to. When you have the right metal frame of mind to focus on blessings and gratitude, the mind can control other parts of the body which can ultimately lead to experiencing joy! An external display of joy can look like having a quiet confidence. You are anchored in peace and you know that your identity is in Christ. External joy will be genuine, as well. If you have joy in Christ–you will not have to “fake” trying to be happy.” 

Can you recall a time that you felt far from being joyful?

Due to privacy, I am not quoting things that Stacy shared with me but I will summarize this section. Stacy shared with me that she has been through a few years of dealing with surprising hardships, challenges, and testing of her faith. She shared with me that these hardships have not been comfortable for her, she has often felt like wanting to run away from the pain, and maybe even question God. Stacy shared that her family has gone through various challenges in the last few years–and that not many outside people knew. While she was still trying to minister and serve her family, not being able to open up to people outside her family was very isolating. 

Do you have any specific Bible references that encourage you when it comes to having joy? What truths do you speak to yourself? What about any specific worship songs that encourage you? 

“Bible verses that encourage me are Philippians 4:8–fill your minds with things that are true, noble, right, pure, and lovely— and Psalm 104–enter His courts with thanksgiving in your hearts. And some worship songs I am loving are from Hillsong, especially New Wine. Truths I speak to myself are that God has not given me a spirit of fear but a sound mind ( 2 Timothy 1:7) and also that I am not lacking anything in Christ. I surround myself with things that remind me of God’s word, truth, promises, and signs of hope. Gratitude journaling is very powerful and helps you to remember what God has done.”

What are some practical things to keep in mind when it comes to finding your joy?

“Make a list each week of 10 things that make you feel joyful and schedule time for each of those things to happen in your week–it helps to give you something to look forward to. Be in prayer and worship during your commute each day, it helps to set the tone of your day. Take a sabbath and truly rest! Sabbath can be a powerful time to evaluate stress and identify things that are stealing your joy. Also make an effort to take breaks from social media–it is sometimes a joy-killer and comparison is dangerous! Go to workout classes that are fun and make you happy to exercise (ie yoga, pilates, rock climbing, etc). Community is another important thing to have–even if you feel like shutting yourself off from people, make yourself get out and go see your friends, family, church anyway!”

Just for “funzies”, what are 4 things that bring you joy?

“Some types of music that I am really loving are Selena Gomez’s new album, Tayla Parx, and I love turning on Post Malone and jamming out in my car! I am a Rachel Hollis guru and really like her books Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing. Chuy’s Taco Salad with Jalapeño Ranch also really brings me so much joy!”

How can others connect with you (Stacy) and your ministry, Spark Wholeness?

“Readers can connect with me on my website– sparkwholeness.bigcartel.com— I have some new clothing products, including leggings! Readers can also go to the “Schedule Me” section of the website for fitness classes, workshops, speaking events, etc. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.” 

Stacy, thank you so much for hanging out with me, being vulnerable, talking about joy, and all the other funzies that we had last weekend!! Readers, I hope something about our conversation will help you if you are also dealing with a season of finding your joy again. Which of these questions, that we discussed, stick out to you the most?

Love From Amy Blog

 

Excuse-Proof Tips to Help You Get to the Gym!

Good morning! I hope you have a wonderful day today. The last two blogs have been of a more serious nature, so today I’m sharing something a little more light and upbeat. Today I’m going to be talking about going to the gym! Yay. (Insert sarcastic tone) 

If you’re anything like me, going to the gym is pretty much the worst thing ever and it takes SOOOO much motivation. I can pretty much make up any excuse to talk myself out of going to the gym. However, I know deep down that it’s actually good for me, I feel and sleep better, and I like being healthy. I have developed a few small habits, over the last couple of months, that have been a great help to get me back into the gym. So far, these small habits have proved to be excuse-proof! I’m going to share these tips with you in the hopes that it helps you conquer your fitness goals, as well!

Excuse #1: I don’t have any clean gym clothes.

Solution #1: Have as many changes of work out clothes as the number of days you go to the gym. So, if you are planning on going 2-3 times a week, make sure you have 2-3 changes of workout gear (ie. 3 pairs of leggings or shorts, 3 shirts, etc…). By having separate changes of clothes for each gym day, you won’t have the excuse of needing to do laundry because you have nothing clean. At the end of your workout week, do laundry for the next week. In the mornings before I go to work, I grab my shoes, a clean pair of socks, leggings, and a shirt that I can leave in my car. I also have a designated gym bag that I clean out every night and leave by my purse. I also feel the most confident about working out when I have gym clothes that I like wearing. And of course, almost every single piece of workout gear that I have is black, haha! Some of my favorite brands of workout clothes are:

Excuse #2: I can’t seem to find any time to go to the gym.

Solution #2: Plan specific dates and times for the gym month-by-month. For example, in January and February, I decided that Monday, Tuesday, and Friday nights were my available times to go to the gym and I need to go as soon as I get off work. I used to get very overwhelmed with trying to plan when I would go to the gym on a long-term basis, but by having a monthly plan of when to go–I can be flexible with my schedule based on the month’s activities and it’s easier for me to plan on a smaller scale. Also, by going to the gym straight after work, I can also eliminate the excuse of “well, now I’m home and I’m just too tired to leave the house again.” 

Excuse #3: I am just too tired. 

Solution #3: This one ties in with #1 and #2 but it’s probably my biggest excuse. I think it’s my biggest excuse because, at the end of the day, I just want to be lazy sometimes. However, if you set a specific number of times you want to go to the gym, plan appropriately to help you achieve that goal, and follow through–the end results will make it all worth it! You will never regret doing a workout after you’ve finished your session. Even though you may be tired–working out may help you sleep even better and give you more energy for the next day! Also, make sure you plan for and pack snacks that you can have pre-workout and post-workout for any blood sugar fluctuations or panic-y, hangry feelings.

I hope you feel encouraged and motivated to get to the gym! Let’s get moving!

Love From Amy Blog

Things I’m Loving Lately | AD

Hi friends! Welcome back to the blog and for another favorites-related post! It’s been a while since I’ve written a post like this and I have a few favorites to share with you. This post is sponsored by Riverdean Watches–thank you, Riverdean!

Netflix’s The Final Table

I was sick with a strain of the flu a few days after Thanksgiving and into the first week of December and spent a lot of time in bed. I also spent a lot of time reading and catching up on Netflix shows. One of the shows that I watched in entirety was The Final Table on Netflix. This show is a cooking competition between the best chefs in the world and each week focused on a different ethnicity of food. This show was so fascinating, inspiring, and definitely worth the binge.

Netflix’s Salt Fat Acid Heat

I’ve been so interested in reading the book Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat and was happy to learn that it had been made into a Netflix special. This show was inspirational, educational, funny, and gave me the travel bug super bad. Samin spoke about her experiences with food, cooking, and taught how to incorporate these essential elements into home-cooking. This show is also highly recommended if you need something to watch!

Riverdean Avalon Watch

Riverdean reached out to me a couple of months ago to ask if I would like to try some of their watches. I’ve been thinking about getting a new watch and was very excited to receive this one! I love the color and the marble design on the face of the watch! It has been the perfect accessory to many of the outfits I wear! Riverdean has kindly offered to give my readers a 20% discount off any orders using the code “LOVEXAMY20.”

Use code “LOVEXAMY20” to get 20% off your order!

RMS Beauty Products

I’ve been trying to switch to all natural cosmetic products and decided to give RMS a try. I’ve heard so many good reviews about this brand and my best friend has also worn their products for years. I am hooked. I bought a concealer and luminizer and love how they look on my skin. I plan on writing a post about “clean beauty favorites” at some point, but I think that I’ll be using RMS concealer and luminizers for a long time.

Boxing

I took a boxing class with some of my friends in the fall and I’m (left) hooked! Haha, jokes! But seriously, this type of workout has been so therapeutic for me and has been really fun. It’s been a really long time since I actually enjoyed working out. I bought a boxing bag for myself and hung it in my garage, so now I can box whenever I wan

Starting Fresh in September

Last week I wrote about how September is my favorite month and holds so much meaning for me. This month signifies a new start, the beginning of a new birth year for me, and reflection over the last year. September is about starting fresh.

Today I’m going to encourage you in some ways that you can also have a fresh start this month. What do you love most about this month??

Personal Health

Start a new workout plan. Be better at healthy meal planning and prepping. Go to bed earlier. Drink more water.

Relationships with Family and Friends

Put the phone down more. Be intentional about spending time with others. Have people over and look for ways to gather others. Send more texts or messages to friends and family to let them know you’re thinking of them. Look for ways to serve those you love.

Work Life

Get to work early. Focus on work tasks and really give it your all. Facilitate a positive work culture and environment. Clean and organize your work space.

Spiritual Health

Make a point to spend time with God each day. Spend your commute in prayer and as you go about the day. Be open for opportunities to share the love and compassion of Christ. Begin a new Bible study plan.

Home

Bring out the fall candles and decorations. Make a point to keep the house clean and cozy. Put away your summer clothes and bring out all the fall wear. Declutter. Finish a project you’ve already started.

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Blogs I’m Loving Lately

This month I have been focusing on different kinds of things that I love and I hope you have been enjoying those posts. I think it’s fun to write themed posts during certain months (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc).

Today’s post is going to highlight four different blogs that I have loved reading lately. You should definitely read and subscribe to these blogs! I also really like how crisp and fresh all of these blogs look.

Jenna Kutcher


www.jennakutcherblog.com

Jenna

Jenna Kutcher’s blog is for the #girlboss! This blog is really helpful for building a brand, navigating the various forms of digital influencing, and for learning tips that are instrumental for everyday life. Jenna has also offered some free online webinars for things like email lists and Pinterest.

The Refined Woman


www.therefinedwoman.com

Refined Woman

I love thing blogs because it’s centered around real life issues, work, encouragement, wellness, and style. The Refined Woman was founded by Kat Harris and she is such an inspiration for the creator and adventurer at heart.

Straight A Style


www.straightastyleblog.com

Straight A

This next blog is for the fashion lover! Straight A Style is written by Amy Ann Arnold and she is a blogger in my hometown–and she’s killin’ it! Amy Ann’s posts are so helpful for styling and shopping for your every day needs–wether it be casual to formal. Amy Ann’s photos are also so great and inspire me to take better photos. Go check out her blog!

Lauren Scruggs Kennedy


www.laurenscruggskennedy.com

LSK

I have loved following Lauren’s blog for a while because of her faith in Jesus, her strength in recovering from and overcoming a traumatic accident, and her dedication to health/wellness. Lauren’s blog is always so encouraging, uplifting, and relevant for every woman.

I hope you enjoy reading more of these blogs! What are your favorite blogs right now?

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