Tag Archives: plan

My Joy Story

stars light up the night. big Texas sky covers us graciously. tucking us in for a story. campfire burns. we stare. mesmerized by light and warmth. notes play as voices sing. sharing loss and desire. we understand each other.  universal stories. contentment.  joyful noise.

he reaches out for my hand as we walk. stomach flutters. unsure of what’s next. heart beating in my throat. hoping he’ll tell me who he is. what he loves. where he hurts. eager to be let in. listening intently. story unfolding. joy coming.

bright lights. lots of people. noise. doctors racing. nurses talking. my feet are cold. searing pain. fear. hurry. worry. wait. wonder. why. there will be no cry they say. do not be afraid. clean out mouth and take away…trusting. listening. it’s okay they say. scared. mom? who is here? what time is it? so much pain. hear a cry. relief. tears. laughter. joy delivered.

big tree with tire swing. golf carts and trampoline. bikes against the fence. hoop too high for me. brother lifts me. leaves crunch. hide and seek. running. pool. stories. who said what. who did what. who do you like. where are you going. friends.laughter. long lazy days of summer. joy remembered.

entering in. unrolling my mat. chanting om. movement. breath. meditation. inner journey. awakening. light. calm. peace. community. safety. wellness. health. grace. prayer. new life. joyful freedom.


These are just some of my Joy Stories.  I have asked God to give me more joy in my original design..more joy in who He has made me to be…more joy in my unique story. I’ll be looking back and looking ahead with joy this year.  I will be praying for eyes to see and ears to hear the joy that is around me in the present moment.  I will be celebrating the way joy continues to show up.

Joy is our birthright and our destiny.  We must claim it.  Own it.

Do you see it? Did you feel it? Can you remember it?

Where do you find joy?

Let’s tell that story.

We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. -Psalm 126:2

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Not a New Year’s Resolution

I love clean slates and empty pages and new journals and blank spaces.

I like tidy houses and clutter free zones and organized pantries and closets with order.

I love these things but the truth is, I don’t have these things in my life.

Oh sure, I get the brand new journal but I can’t wait…I have to write in it…I try out different pens (Flairs are my favorite)  and write my name and doodle flowers and try my hand at poetry.  The empty page is just too inviting.  The blank space calls out to me…the new slate is not new for long. I can’t wait.

As for clean houses, they are pretty on Pinterest but I find them rather boring in real life.  I like to visit homes where there are newspapers on the coffee table and blankets on the couch…where I’m invited in to snuggle and get cozy with a cup of coffee, pushing the laundry to the side.  I like it when friends just hand over the pie plate and a fork while they sit down with their fork too and we share the leftover pie.  I like it when there are piles of books and photographs and games.  I prefer stepping over shoes in the hallway.  It reminds me that the people there are alive and are coming and going and it’s oh so good to have somewhere to go from and to come home to.

I would love an organized pantry and I’ve tried but honestly, I just need the peanut butter and the chocolate chips at the front.  In case there is an emergency.  Other than that, I basically come home from the store and shove it all in.  It’s okay because if someone comes over, I know where we keep the wine and chocolate.  Which obviously makes me a great hostess.

With regards to closets, I’ve been getting some practice here with our move.  This is our second rental and soon we move into our “real” house.  My friend called it our “real, forever” house but now I know there is no such thing.  It’s okay.  It’s going to be my “for now” house and it’s going to be home.  I can’t wait.  As I clean the clutter and donate clothes and try to simplify I realize it will never look like a magazine, it will never be color coordinated.  But I just don’t even care.  Honestly, I have my go-to’s…some old,  like my favorite jeans and some new, like my cowboy boots…I have my softest cotton shirts and my flannel pjs.  I love to look at fashion and I love to browse stores and Pinterest and flip through Vogue but when it comes down to it, I’ll take my husband’s cozy 20 year old sweatshirt over anything else.   The move has taught me I don’t need much.

So this will not be a New Year’s resolution post about how I’m going to do better, be better, clean more or have more order in my life.

This year I will not resolve to lose weight or work out more or vow to never eat a cookie.

See, this past year has been a BIG one for me and my family.  Our move to Texas has been such a blessing.  This year, with this move, I have learned to really and truly surrender to God’s plan for me and to trust Him.  I’ve learned about His provision and His protection.  I’ve learned that His plans are much bigger and better and way more beautiful than mine.

I used to think that I needed to do something for Him…you know, like perform for God.  Not necessarily to earn His love but to make Him proud.  Like with a parent, I wanted to please Him.  I still want to please Him but it’s different now.  I know that I already do please Him.  He loves me. Not because of what I do but because I am His.

Brennan Manning explains that sometimes people get off track with their spirituality and let personal responsibility replace personal response.  The emphasis is on what I do rather than what God is doing. 

I read those words and I thought, “Oh wow. I’ve done that.”

Paul Tillich describes God’s grace as a voice saying,  “You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know.  Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later.  Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything, do not perform anything, do not intend anything.  Simply accept the fact that you are accepted.” 

Can we believe this together this year? Will you join me?

We are accepted with our messy closets and unorganized homes. We are also accepted if we have very organized homes and clean, color coordinated closets.

We are accepted with our extra 10 pounds and our less than stellar exercise habits. We are also accepted if we work out every day and are at our ideal fighting weight.

We are accepted when we can’t wait and we start scribbling and doodling with no plan or purpose. We are also accepted if we always have plan and purpose and patience.

We are accepted when we aren’t striving and doing and achieving and working for God. We are also accepted when we fall into old patterns and start to perform.

He loves us no matter what.  Our only job is to let Him.

This year, I will remember that it is God who is leading this dance.  I am grateful to be invited to dance with Him.  He doesn’t care if I know the mamba or the 2 step or the waltz…He is not judging or condemning or keeping score.  He is asking, “Will you dance with me?” and He is patiently awaiting my response.

This year, and every year from now on…heck, every single morning from now on…I will imagine Him asking me that same question and I will respond…


Happy New Year Friends!


let god

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Picture from Pinterest


Big Change

Oh my gosh you guys.  I mean…y’all.  Big news over here.  We are moving to Texas!

austin heart

We’ve always lived in Illinois so this is a huge change.

Did you get my references to Big and Huge? They say everything is bigger in Texas.  So it’s a good thing I named this blog Great Big YES!

I actually feel like this is one of my biggest YES! moments. We are running toward something that feels really amazing. Stepping into what God is doing with trust and anticipation. It feels right. Exciting. Like God is up to something. Which of course He is.

There’s a lot to do. Which is why I’m writing in short, clipped, grammatically challenged sentences.

My friend said, “You know what you need to do first, right?” and I answered, “Yes, buy cowboy boots.”

That’s apparently not what she meant.

I wonder if other people are like me. When I have something big to do, I buy a planner and a binder and new college lined paper so I can get organized.

notebook photo

Is that weird?

A waste of time? Money?

It’s so pretty though, right?

It’s funny what we do to feel safe. To plan. To organize. It’s interesting what we think we “need”. I’ve realized I don’t need much. As long as I have Jesus and my family, I’m good. Wherever we are together, we are home.

My friend sent me this and I love it! It seems pretty appropriate right now. say yes

I’m looking forward to this dance.

I’ll be wearing my cowboy boots of course.


©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved
Cowboy boot image and image of Texas from Pinterest.