Oddwalk Ministries

The Cerneka Family Guide to Living Joy

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The newlyweds, Brandie and Adam!

Lots going on in Cerneka land these days. We’re just a little too busy for me to devote a lot of brainpower to the writing of a traditional blog article. It is my turn, though, and the subject is joy. So, I thought I might have a bit of fun.
Yesterday, Erin and I traveled to Illinois for the wedding of my cousin, Adam, and his new (and awesome) bride, Brandie. Our family weddings are always fun, and this one was no exception. Of the moments in my life that bring me joy, being with family is right there near the top. In fact, I doubt you would find a family who lives joy like this one. I may be a little biased, though. There are a few family characteristics that make this a reality. So, I thought it might be fun to write what I’m calling The Cerneka Family Guide to Living Joy. Most of these points are influenced by yesterday’s wedding and reception, but I believe they have real application for everyday life. Here you go:

-Put God at the center – I’m not saying we always get this perfectly right, but God is important to this family and it shows.

-Time with family – I’m not just talking about immediate family here. I mean aunts, uncles, cousins, first cousins, once removed…and so on. Ours not only gets together for big traditional family events, but we try hard to find time outside of those days as well.

-Appreciate the moment you’re in – Like most other families, ours has dealt with it’s share of grief, pain, and loss. Rather than those moments driving us further into despair, though, I feel like we’ve been compelled by them to have a deeper appreciation for the precious time we do have together.

-Don’t take yourself too seriously – This one isn’t a problem for us. Yesterday’s wedding was a perfect example of this. The wedding featured faulty microphones, a lector who started reading the Gospel instead of the first reading, and the wedding couple mistaking the end of the Gospel for the moment they were supposed to go to the predetermined spot to exchange their vows. And yet, the wedding couple and everyone in the congregation just laughed it off. None of that would matter in the long run and everyone knew it.

-Dance – I know this might seem silly to those who have decided that they don’t or can’t dance, but I believe dancing is important. It’s not something I can explain, but it just seems that achieving some level of joy must also be accompanied by some level of surrender. This type of abandon is necessary if you’re going to do your best Travolta (ask your parents) or sing every word to “Don’t Stop Believing” (parents again) at the top of your lungs.

-Serve one another – Whether it’s looking after your aunt who doesn’t get around too well, checking in on cousin dealing with the loss of a parent, or just getting someone another beer, serving others helps us be who we were created to be: disciples of Jesus, our greatest example of servanthood.

So, that’s the list. There are probably other points I could add, but I’ll save those for another time. Now, get away from that screen and go live joy!

-Shannon

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