Discovering Joy: It’s up to you, but not about you, Pt 2

Discovering Joy

Welcome to the second half of Discovering Joy.

If you missed the first, you can read it here.

I wrote previously:

I learned that really getting the most out of Allume (a recent blogging conference I attended), or any other gathering in life, really learning to discover joy right where we areis that it is up to us, but not about us.

I suggested that when we truly take interest in others, when we make it about someone else and not us, that we receive and are blessed beyond measure.


When was the last time you reached out to someone nearby in need?

Did you offer your shoulder to a friend who needed support, share your arms with a child who craved comfort, pull up an extra seat to your dinner table for someone hungry to sink their teeth into food and friendship?

Can you still feel the warmth as they gratefully leaned into you, easily melted into your embrace, and dug into your delightfully seasoned offerings?

Remember how that hit you right in the heart?

That is joy, my friend, right where you live.

As Mark Twain quipped, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”


I came away from the conference changed, having taken actions that were uncomfortable, but that brought me incalculable joy.

Here are the rest of the steps I took that I highly recommend.


Let go of expectations.  Tear up that list of people you have to meet, autographs you must seek, seminars you must take. Those expectations are mostly all about you and can lead to huge disappointments. Pray or meditate for guidance, to be where you need to be, to connect with those who you can help, to land where you can learn necessary lessons.

When you let go, your attitude shifts from a dogged and dry determination to complete a checklist, to a light-hearted and joyful curiosity about what the next day, hour, or even minute will hold. I experienced and heard about many impromptu elevator and hallway meetings where folks were able to enjoy a brief one-on-one chat, pray over and with, share gratitude, or ask a question. This is equally true anywhere you go.


Be visible.  If you are alone, be out and about where you can see others and be seen. Unless you need some rest, of course, which we all sometimes do. Being visible allowed me to enjoy breakfast and a two hour chat with a new buddy, put me in a position to ask two other newbies to join our small group for dinner, and to run into countless others who became new friends.

I did completely miss one over the weekend, sorry to say. She wrote to me that someone said to her, “How have you not found Kim Hall yet?  She’s everywhere!” Heh. Note to self: next year I’ll have a smart phone so I’ll see her twitter message while she is still in the building.


Assume the best.  Lisa-Jo Baker illustrated this beautifully at the How to Build Community w/o Competition workshop. I didn’t get the exact quote, so I’ll share my takeaway:

Offer more grace than you think is possible and necessary, and generously give the benefit of the doubt. Yes, yes. This has always served me well.

You may still feel like a target bristling with arrows sometimes. If so, go here to learn productive ways to deflect them.


Volunteer.  Yes, I’m suggesting you lend a helping hand. In smaller conferences, the folks in charge almost always can use a hand with set-up, take-down, and in-between. This is not only an opportunity to give back, but it’s a chance to get to know women you might not otherwise. In your neighborhood look for places to help, and remember that even what feels like a small gesture can give tremendous hope to others.

Allume provided Impact Opportunities which gave us a chance to give to those in need and connect with like-minded women. I participated in Help-Portrait, an event to help folks in need see themselves as normal and worthy. Local hairdressers, talented photographers, and my fellow volunteers gathered to help at-risk middle school girls see who they truly are, to share their hope, joy and excitement.

We fed them treats, chatted, laughed, and encouraged, and especially treated them with respect and dignity. Who knew that my childhood experience with folding paper would be such a huge asset, as well as result in me earning the nickname the Queen of Origami? :-)


Welcome others with your countenance.  Tsh at Simple Mom quotes another in a recent post: When you walk into a room, does your body language and your expression say, “Here I am!” Or does it say, “There you are! It’s a tremendously powerful perspective shift for creating and maintaining happier relationships. Go read it. 

As the now walking on air middle schoolers were leaving their photo session, they ran into best-selling author and keynote speaker Ann Voskamp. Ann stopped and knelt to speak with them, putting her arms around them. She gave them copies of her book, 1000 Gifts, and offered more gems of encouragement to store in their hearts. Those girls were transformed by her welcoming countenance.


Be involved.  Gather your courage and create a gathering, or just join one. As part of the pre-conference activities, Blog Cheerleader Deb Stangeland organized a walking tour of Greenville that was fun, enlightening, and allowed time for conversations. By the way, if you blog, you need to be reading Deb.


Be a receiver as well as a giver.  When we continue to insist we don’t need time, money, or anything else, we rob people of joy of giving. Allow others to help. It ends up being a gift for both of you. Just know this: if you don’t take the opportunity to receive in little ways, you may be find yourself one day in a position where you have no choice but to receive. Trust me. The former is better than the latter.

The last night of the conference I was sitting quietly alone in the prayer room, sharing notes of encouragement in the journals of people in attendance. Without warning, a woman grabbed my arm and pulled me out of my seat. Starting to protest, I realized it was my new friend Melissa bringing me over to a group of now close friends so they could pray over me before we all parted company. I was touched beyond belief, and sat there with tears rolling down my face as they breathed sweet hope into my dreams.


Let go of the vanity.  Looking and feeling great is one thing. When your focus is on you, and on how you look awesome, how you are going to make the others green with jealousy, how you have moved up in the world so you are too important now to talk to or help the little people, or how you are headed up the ladder, so you aren’t going to waste your time talking to anyone who isn’t a mover and shaker, well, you are missing out. Missing out on a chance to encourage, share your wisdom and your message, or to make a difference. And meet some great folks, too.


If you disagree, be decent.  We were all created wonderfully different, so it stands to reason we won’t agree on lots of things. If you are listening to a someone speak and you hold different beliefs from them, please mind your manners. You aren’t going to change minds and hearts behaving like a catty teenage girl. Take what nuggets you can and gracefully leave the rest. Remember you only have three choices in life whenever you run into similar situations, because There is No Door #4.

Our lives and our joy are measured mightily in these small moments.

We dance to the music of an unseen choreographer, friends and strangers weaving through the colorful blossoms, urban sidewalks, and digital universe, coming together for brief moments, and offering seeds of encouragement and growth: a helping hand, a hopeful voice, a resource, a name and number, possibly even a mild rebuke.

Join me in stepping forward today, won’t you?


Plant flowers in others’ gardens and your life becomes a bouquet!  ~Author Unknown 


Question: Did you take a step forward last week, or are you planning one this week? Please share!

Sharing at  Messy Marriage Wedded Wednesday

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  1. I think I really needed this today! I’m feeling a little lost and definitely invisible. I know how day-changing and life-changing it can be to be connected, visible, helpful…most of all connected, though!
    Tamara recently posted…Beware of Darkness.My Profile

    • I hear you on that, Tamara! The nickname I gave myself in high school was “Wallpaper” because I blended in so well to the background no one even knew I was there. :-(
      It is less painful to reach out and risk rejection than suffer the pain of continuing to be a wall covering. :-)
      Hope you are feeling better!

  2. LIfe has been in the way of reading the blogs I like to follow, like yours, Kim. This post is a good one to help me regain my footing.
    Letting go of expectations and the laundry list that goes with it is fresh advice. Our situation has recently lead me in that direction. Lots of changes – death of mom, sold our house and moved in with dad, quit my full time job to be his caregiver. Yes, part of the process is letting go of vanity (if you could see me at this moment you would agree my vanity is out the window:).
    Thanks for this post and giving me ideas on how to find joy during troubling times.
    Connie Foster recently posted…THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN HIKEMy Profile

    • That is a lot of change, Connie. I, too, have been out of touch, as life happenings do indeed take precedence. My condolences on your mom.
      You make me smile when you say if I could see you now I’d know vanity is out the window. :-)
      I am so glad you have found help and hope here. Praying for you!

  3. Great thoughts! I am enthralled by the way you weave illustrations throughout your post, all while keeping your words concise and precise. There is much to learn from life, and much we could share with others, if we but look at what The Lord is doing in our lives.

    Thank you again for opening your heart.
    Lisa recently posted…Tips For Stress-Free Mornings!My Profile

  4. So true – if I were to wait for someone to pour joy into me – I would never get enough, be satisfied enough – and it would be contingent on someone else, enslaved to someone else for my joy. But when I pour into others, reaching, giving – my joy overflows and satisfies – and I am liberated. I keep telling my boys “Choose Joy” – ’cause it’s a choice!

    Love your positive attitude!
    bluecottonmemory recently posted…Classical Conversations: When Challenges Create Communication AtrophyMy Profile

    • Great point! Me, too. I have to admit, though, that the image of me walking around like an empty Koolaid pitcher—do you remember those ads?— is kind of funny.
      Your boys are so blessed to have your wisdom and guidance. The women they eventually marry will be so grateful, I have no doubt! Thanks of coming by!

  5. Kim,
    Wise words..for me, letting go of expectations and learning to count my blessings has helped me to experience more joy…Thank your for your sweet e-card…I am feeling much better today :) How’s life in your new home?
    Dolly recently posted…Five Minute Fridays: TreeMy Profile

    • Life is good in TN. We continue our search for a house, but are so happy to be here nonetheless. Glad to hear things your skies are bluer! :-)

  6. Jody Lee Collins says:

    Kim, I so enjoyed reading this as I was the ‘mrs. mcjudgy pants’ person, looking from the sidelines at ‘all those people’ who go to ‘these’ conferences. Wow. I was very wrong and God has corrected my heart in that regard. This was a refreshing post.
    Good job!

    • Wow, Jody. I am so humbled by your comment. I was you last year. I couldn’t even bear to read the after conference posts because they were so gleeful. I was just jealous. :-(

      I hope you take at least one of these suggestions above and just step forward and out in faith. Let me know how it goes! Thanks for taking the time to share.

  7. Mary Geisen

    So practical and so relevant! My church has been doing a series titled Kingdom Come which has focused on KIngdom building and how to find it in everything and everyone you come in contact with. This connects perfectly with this series. Thank you for this and I’m coming to you from Messy Marriage.

    • That sounds like a great series, Mary. Have you ever done the one by Bill Hybel called “Walk Across the Room?” That was wonderfully encouraging, too. Thanks for coming on over! Isn’t Beth great? I just love her site.

  8. Great post, Kim! Did you send this to Lisa Jo so she can see how her words gave you such great perspective? I know she’d love that.
    Fawn recently posted…Happy Husbands Club {7 Little Things That Make a Big Difference}My Profile

  9. You are so proactive, Kim! I’m so glad you didn’t let your comfort zone get in the way of experiencing all that you did at Allume. And I’m also grateful for the ways you’re sharing the wealth that you gathered there with all of us. It’s been a treat to read. :) BTW, how’s that new home working out for you? Any chance we could get together for coffee when I’m in the big “K” for Christmas break?
    Beth recently posted…A Pause to Rest and RememberMy Profile

    • How are you Beth? It’s so good to see you!
      Thanks as always for your kind words. We love TN, and I’d love to see you. I’ll send you a message with possibilities!
      Remember to take the time to take care of yourself!

  10. First of all I love the picture that is with this post. Just way cute!
    I enjoyed everyone of the ideas for discovering joy. I do think service to one another is the best of all. This can be done outside or inside your home. I know that I feel better about myself and I have a more grateful heart when I give service.
    Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts on the conference you attended; I have enjoyed it all.

  11. Just as wonderful as part one is. I need to do a better job of being visible. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Thanks! Boy, do I understand about needing to be visible. I joke that my nickname in high school was “Wallpaper”.
      As the Nike ad says, Just Do It!

  12. Kim,

    Hope its OK for a guy to comment? I especially like the thought “Assume the best” as what we look for in others we will certainly find.

    You are a genuine breath of fresh air!

    Keep up the great work.

    — Jerry
    Jerry Stumpf recently posted…Make your wife feel each day that she is the only aim of your affection.My Profile


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