May Your 2014 Be Filled With Plenty of Joy

There is a difference between fun and joy. Hopefully you'll find plenty of joy in the new year.

Published on: Dec 31, 2013

By John and Kendra Smiley

Editor’s note: John and Kendra Smiley write a regular column for Prairie Farmer. Be sure to check it out in the Prairie Life section. Hopefully your 2014 will be filled with joy from start to finish.

My cell phone sounded an alert. I had a text from our youngest son’s wife. Ashley was attending a professional conference and had their three-month-old son with her. I opened the message and there was a picture of little Nolan, securely cocooned in a frontpack, facing forward. The little guy was sporting a contagious smile that stretched from ear to ear. The text read, “Nolan’s been dropping Joy Bombs all day!” Evidently he had been sharing his toothless grin with everyone he met. I could imagine total strangers walking toward this bundle of joy and soon discovering they were smiling too.

May Your 2014 Be Filled With Plenty of Joy
May Your 2014 Be Filled With Plenty of Joy

I know Kendra joined that group of smiling strangers when she saw the picture. Actually, it does not take much to make her smile. She loves people and loves creating and having fun. And nothing says fun like a grandchild with a great big smile. At some point in our marriage I officially declared her the Fun Chairman. She is able to make fun out of almost any situation

This fall was a good example. Dad was not helping and it was Kendra’s responsibility to haul grain. I knew she would enjoy the folks at the elevator, but getting there and getting back to the field would not automatically provide the amount of fun she wanted. I wondered how she would compensate for the mundane, hopefully uneventful trips. It was not long before I got my answer.

By day two Kendra was sporting headphones and listening to an audio book she had downloaded. With the help of our public library she had found a way to have fun during the drive.

Her longest trek to the elevator was from our south farms. Evidently listening to a good book was not providing an adequate amount of fun for the longer trips. That was when she decided to name each mile - First the East Lynn Expressway; then the Leigh Leg followed by the Maul Mile; next stretch the Brooke Beltway and finally the Fountain Creek Finish Line. And, yes, her headphones were still in place. It was all a part of the fun.

John’s right! The friendly folks at the elevator, the audio books, and my mile markers definitely made the job of hauling in more fun. In fact I can come close to saying it was a very pleasant experience.

But let me get back to that bouncing baby boy in the frontpack. It is important to note the difference between things that are fun and those that bring joy. Maybe the caption on that picture would have been more accurate if it had read, “Nolan’s been dropping Fun Bombs all day!” Seeing his broad smile is like seeing a bundle of fun. It undoubtedly contributed to the positive attitude of each person he met – if only for a brief moment. Fun is good but it is not a long-lasting as joy. I like to say fun and happiness are based on happenings and joy is an inside job.

We are coming up on what many folks refer to as the Season of Joy. Perhaps that nickname for Christmas originated from these familiar words – “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

From our home to yours come wishes for a fun-filled holiday and more importantly a joy-filled life!