I think one thing God has pounded us with this past year at Tagged and Happy, is the difference between happy and joy. Lori and I have always loved to have fun. We laugh MOST of the days we are at work. We text each other funnies all the time. We make birthday videos, work with the kids at church, participate in skits...we are ALWAYS up for a laugh or trying to make people laugh. So that part comes naturally. The part that is unnatural or has become a learned behavior is the JOY we are experiencing even when the circumstances of life are not "happy". The truth of our hearts actually feeling deep seeded joy in times of turmoil and trauma. The security and safety we feel in horrible life situations, that has been the lesson. The lesson that Christ desires to give us, all of us, peace. That is what has been hammered into us this season. We have decided that one fine day, we are going to write a book. We usually claim, that no one would ever believe all of the true stories we could tell. All of the terrible events, the heart break, the destruction by others...but then we realized...thats all of us. That is every one reading this, thats everyone we know. Because let's face it, if the two of us have all these stories...then there are millions of stories just like ours, everyday, everywhere. What God has done for us is; He has shown us that when we turn our anxious thoughts or our fearful spirits or our shame into praise of His character...that instills peace and security in our spirit. A deep part of our spirit. That lesson has been a big one. We are currently in the practice of recognizing when fearful or anxious thoughts start rolling through our minds/hearts. Using the spiritual fruit of self control, we stop those thoughts and replace them with specific praise to specific areas of God's character. His faithfulness, His unfailing love, a past blessing. Whatever He brings to our minds, that's what we praise. The process has been overwhelming. The amount of time our fear turns to peace is becoming shorter and shorter. We would love for you to try with us. :). When Satan starts filling your mind with anxiety, and starts to try to run your day by fearful thoughts. Change those to specific praise. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind your spirit to bring praise when the destructive thoughts start. Try it for one day. Watch. It is pretty amazing. The time of anxiety gets shorter and shorter. I am 45 years old and have just learned this skill, and I am still learning to exercise it. What I can tell you is the amount of reverence it has opened in my heart. My acknowledgement of His sovereignty has deepened and my understanding of Godly peace has grown. It has been a big building block in both of our spiritual foundations. His promises are true. AND....frankly......we believe He thinks we are funny!!!!!!!!!! So there's that too :). Love you people! thank you for all of your support and love!!! We feel it everyday!!!!