About Me (the extended version)

A letter...to myself I was born a preacher’s kid. (The picture to the left looks like it was taken in the early 1900’s, I know, but it was actually a painting done in the 80’s)The Riley girls

I am the youngest of three girls, which, if you know me, explains a lot!

Honestly, my parents did the best they could with what they knew. I was a handful.

Growing up, my sisters and I all shared a bathroom with one sink, inches away from the toilet and a shower that doubled as a bathtub.IMG_4700

Our house was just over 1,000 sq ft.

Why am I telling you this, you might ask. Well, because I think it is a part of who I am.

I now live in a house where each of my children have their own bedroom and bathroom (with two sinks!!!) I have a room bigger than the family room in the house I grew up in. And my bathroom…it has a toilet with its own space and door. Not to mention there is a separate shower and bath!

We have lived in this house for years and I still find myself pinching my own arm at times when I pull into the two car garage. TWO CARS! What?!

See, because a girl like me does not deserve a house like this or a husband like Chris or beautiful healthy children. And yet, here I am. Sitting right in the middle of blessingsville. IMG_5725GOD IS GOOD. I know that, because if things had gone my way, I’m not sure I would have made it up off the ground.

My husband is the most beautiful man I have ever seen. We fit together like puzzle pieces. He is strong and protective, yet has the kindest heart of anyone I have ever known. The best part being that he is mine and I am his. He makes me laugh and very rarely do we take a serious photo. That is one of the many things I love about this man.
Ransomed  Is that contagious?!Is that contagious?!My manIMG_4482IMG_5610 This Man IMG_8648 IMG_1289 Chris being silly...imagine that?! IMG_7340  IMG_3422 IMG_3421

I’m a daddy’s girl.A Stranger in my Own Skin I still work hard to make my dad proud. That would probably be an upsetting statement for him, but an honest one nonetheless.

I am constantly working on the removal of my character defects. One of which is that I am a people pleaser.

I’m the girl who wants you to like me even if I don’t particularly like you. Weird, huh?!

I know! I’m a work in progress and for me it’s about progress not perfection.

What's the Big DealI must surrender my will over to the God of my understanding before my feet hit the floor in the morning and give thanks to Him at night when I have made it through another day.Heart footprint in the dirt

There are so many blessings out there just waiting to be uncovered. I believe that God plants things all along our path.

It is I who am not noticing, not He who is not blessing.

I am both humbled and grateful that God gives me words to express what is in the depths and most of the time He allows my mind to slow down just enough to capture them here.

If you aren’t sure about God…believe there is no God…are a bible beater…a seeker…a Jesus freak…a veteran Christian or anything in between, my hope is that something here will resonate in your gut and move you to positive action.

Most of the time, the hardest part is the starting part. That’s why I haven’t exercised in…well…quite some time. I just don’t have the desire to start.

I am a follower of Christ, a seeker of truth, a believer in Heaven.

Were I not, I’m not sure how I would find the motivation to get out of the bed everyday.

So here’s the deal…I won’t preach religion. I don’t think Jesus did, so I won’t.Ransomed

I am not going to berate you with what I think is the only way to God. Though I believe it is through Jesus. I am a spiritual being and this body is just my earthly shell.

What I will do is keep it real. I will speak truth…my truth…to the best of my ability and I will pray for each of you, every day, on this journey.

Thank you for taking the time out of this incredibly busy life to listen to my compilation of thoughts. I hope you will visit often, leave encouraged and know that no matter what, you’re not alone on this road. Remember this truth, God does not change and He is never surprised by anything.

Love and Light,

49 thoughts on “About Me (the extended version)

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  4. Joy I don’t know if you remember me- a friend of Jen’s a best friend of Peggy b in Montgomery. I guess I was more of an on looker of your teen years and 20’s somehow I stumbled upon your blog- wishing Jen a happy birthday on Facebook …..made me wonder how the Riley sisters were. I had tears as I read through your blog – his Mercy never fails us….. I am so glad you are doing well.

    • Hi Kelley!

      I do remember you!
      I’m so glad to hear from you.
      Thank you for reading the blog. It can be rather raw.
      I am blessed far beyond anything I ever imagined. God is good and faithful and His grace astounds me. I hope you are well! Many blessings to you on this journey.

  5. I really wasn’t interested in following another Jesus blog, but what you had to say about yourself pointed out that you’re human first and foremost, like any of us – jesus freak, agnostic, seeker, unbeliever alike. We may be different, but not that different after all. Thanks for being you!

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. Indeed we are all human. It’s when we start picking apart the differences that things become clouded and miscommunications occur. Blessings to you on this journey.

  6. Joy, what an absolute delight its been to have visited your blog several times over the past few days and read many of your current and older postings. Your photos are beautiful, you writing style is wonderful, the subjects you choose are things it’s easy to relate to or cause us to reflect on, and best of all, you’ve woven your thoughts, opinions and faith into your work so that the reader also gets a sense of who you are. Fabulous! I’m already looking forward to your future posts.

    • Rick,
      Thank you.
      Thank you for reading and appreciating my work.
      Thank you for the encouragement that could not have been more timely. I will be printing your comment and putting it in my planning book (yes, I still write out my agenda using paper and pen 🙂 ) so that I can read it when needing an incentive to keep sharing my interpretation of this life.
      Many blessings to you, my new friend.
      Joy

    • You use paper and pen too! I have stacks of handwritten notes everywhere. Soon t I’ll have to make a handwritten map so I know where each of those notes are 🙂 It’s a honor to know you Joy.

      • HA! I love it!
        Writing things by hand is becoming a lost art.
        So glad to see that someone else still does it as well 🙂

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  9. Greetings from Australia. I came to your blog through the Weekly Photo Challenge. I subscribed to follow it, because after reading this intro about yourself, I wanted to hear your take on life etc. 🙂

  10. Found this through the pingback from the weekly photo challenge – thanks so much for that!! And I really enjoyed reading this; good to read honesty. Now I will have to read the rest of your blog!!

  11. Indeed God is good! I love your genrous humility and a heart that is grateful of the blessings in her life. So inspiring. I also grew up with 5 siblings. We would sleep in one room during hot days since it’s the only airconditioned room and share one bathroom. Sometimes I would use my parents bathroom when we are late for school. I enjoyed every moment my growing up years. i thought me the joys of having a simple life. Thanks for sharing…

    • Thank you for sharing that. It is true for me that many of my fondest memories have nothing to do with money or things, they are moments… with people who mean the most to me. Good stuff 🙂

  12. I’m soooo blessed to have stumbled upon your blog! Transparency always leads to freedom and it is a message so many of us need reminding of. Thank you for being obedient to your calling and encouraging me to do the same!

  13. Beautiful words, best “About Me” page I’ve read on the web; so personal and down to earth. Enjoy your blessings!

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement.
      Truly, you have no idea how badly I needed to hear your words today.
      Blessings and Light to you!

  14. Joy, Thank you for being open about your life! I teach a class at our local jail and plan to read your story to the girls today. There are many girls in my class who will understand the first part of your journey and I pray they will find Christ along the way as you did! May God use testimonies like yours to encourage and push others toward the CROSS! Your sister in Christ, Ruth

    • Ruth,
      Thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing my story. There was so much shame for so long.
      I wish I had understood how quickly it would be dispelled by sharing what had happened.
      God’s timing is perfect, I know that full well and I am so, so grateful.
      Blessings to you, your ministry and the precious ones you are ministering to.
      Love and Light,
      Joy

    • HA! Thank you for reading! I’m a work in progress and I’m taking all of my readers on the journey with me 😉 Thank you for the encouragement.
      Um, yeah, about your blog…last post was in 2009. You’re a busy guy though, yes?!
      Thanks again for stopping by and especially for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it!

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  16. So glad I found your blog. I love your humor and honesty. Me-rasied in an alcholic/ abusive/extremely religious house. Weird Huh? Deacon’s wife, head deacons daughter in law, youth group leader, sunday school teacher, etc etc and eventually minister’s wife. Then came the part where I became alcoholic and ran away from the church for a very long time. I made it back and I very much understand wanting people to like even if I don’t like them. LOL

    • Cathy!
      I am so glad that we have connected!

      Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s weird at all to be alcoholic/abusive/religious. Too often they go hand in hand. I’m just sorry you had to endure that kind of childhood.

      I am SO grateful for the church where we are now. I was out of the church for quite a while and believe me, all the churches I was familiar with were glad that I wasn’t darkening their doorstep.

      I’m sure you have heard of People of the Second Chance, but if not, their website is http://www.potsc.com/testimony/the-voice-you-listen-to/ I have had the privilege to write for them a couple of times. They are all about grace. I think the doorway to grace is honest acceptance.

      I wasn’t able to fully grasp what God’s love is about until I began practicing raw honesty. Truly.

      There are many churches who wouldn’t want someone like me there. It makes me all the more grateful that I am in a place that will use my story to help me heal and hopefully help someone else in the process.

      Blessings to you, my friend!

  17. Dear Joy, I love finding fellow Christ followers in the blogger-sphere. There are lots of us which is awesome. I’m a PK, a Pastor’s wife, a Pastor’s sister, a worship leader’s mother and a some-day Senior Pastor’s mother. It runs deep, LOL. I have three brothers and was the princess. I’ve spent the last few years of my life on a journey of understanding the concept of BE. It’s a journey unlike any I’ve been on in my walk with Jesus and it’s been full of tears understanding who I am in Him; BEing who God’s created me to BE. I look forward to wandering through your blog 🙂 Happy Easter.

    • Hi Becky!
      I’m so glad you stopped by and commented. I look forward to following your journey!
      My, you are quite intertwined in the ministry world! 🙂 That can be difficult. The hubs and I both work at a church now, but it’s a church unlike any other I have ever seen. I LOVE what it stands for (Jesus) and offers to those who have either been hurt by the church or just never liked going.
      I hope you are having a wonderful Easter weekend!

      • I think that’s why I live a bit outside the box, lol. We are part of a wonderful denomination and we are so blessed to get to pastor the greatest family ever. I wish ministry life were a happy ever after scenario but we both know it comes with a high price tag. I watched it almost destroy my parents at times but they were faithful in their call. I was excited to read your church value in one word – Jesus. Do u have a church web site?

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