Are You Trying to Find Joy During the Holiday Season, When You’re in Your Thirties and Feeling Broke?

This post, and the book and journal options that are available, are for you. The following excerpt is from a short book I recently wrote in my own season of feeling broken in many ways, including financially, not long ago. I decided to actually sit down and study joy: what is it and how do I get more of it when I just don’t feel it? After getting clarity and breakthrough, I decided to write and package my book in a way that others can find joy too!

You can purchase the book and Reflective Journal for yourself! The journal includes access to an online community to get support, quotes, guided questions, and action steps to really put joy into action this season, just where and how you are now. To get the book and journal click on the photos below or these links: FINDING JOY BOOK || FINDING JOY JOURNAL


Part 1 – What is Joy Really?

Finding joy in a “season of joy” when you don’t feel it, but instead all you feel is broke. Wow. That’s a tough one. And something that I wrestled with too long before sitting down and deciding that I was going to understand this joy word: what it is and how do I find it. Three little letters that pack a huge punch J-O-Y. And to feel the full weight of the word and really understand it, it’s almost like you need to know the opposite: Misery, Trials, Tribulation, and Brokenness. If you’re reading this now, you’re probably fully aware of one tribulation: feeling broke in a season of giving and… joy.

In this short book, we’ll look at a couple of exact definitions of joy, but first we have to understand something super important: Joy is not happiness, it supersedes our circumstances, and it actually brings strength to the person who chooses to grasp it. This is
why I bring up knowing the opposite of joy. Because sometimes it is through the very things we hate in life the brokenness, misery, trials, and walking through tribulations- that joy can show its face and have lasting impact in the moment and carry us beyond the moment.

By definition joy is, “joy, calm delight, or inner gladness.” This definition comes from the ancient Greek word “chara.”* There are many other definitions such as: gladness, mirth, or as dictionary.com defines it, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Joy sounds happy and light! It sounds like a great thing. So why does this great, happy thing seem so hard to grasp, especially with the Holiday season? Gifts, parties, dinners, Secret-Santas, things to do, people to see, and EVERYTHING COSTS SOMETHING! From first-hand experience, when you feel broke all the good can twist up quickly and become a point of anxiety and fear. But if we understand that joy is available to us DESPITE the trials and tribulations in life, we can approach the season with openness and even joy. So let’s unpack and understand the definitions of joy by looking at where we can see it in day-to-day life…

Do not wait to experience joy this season! Get your book and journal today. It will be worth it.

The book offers insight and clarity from someone (myself) with first hand experience in finding freedom from feeling broke, experiencing joy instead.

The journal includes:

  • Guided questions to help get to the heart of the matter
  • Extra pages to journal
  • Quotes to turn back to when you need hope
  • Action steps that you can take now
  • AND the opportunity to join an online community for support in this season

*Audry, “Words of Faith Hope and Love,” https://www.wordsoffaithhopelove.com/what-is-joy-inthe-bible/

Six Easy Ways to Save

Money- dealing with it, making in, saving it, spending it – can seem overwhelming and just plain hard some days! Right now, I’m in a season of saving over spending extra money and I’ve come up with a list of ways to save with EASE. A simple post with simple solutions of things that I’ve both seen and done myself that may help you. What else would you add to this list?

  1. “Shop” your friends closet instead of buying a new dress for events – I used to do this in college and after a relative recently showed me an “old” dress of hers that she is wearing to a wedding coming up, it inspired me to write about it here. Instead of buying an entire new outfit for an event, see if you can borrow a new for you outfit that you can give back at the end. This will save you money and closet space!
  2. Meal plan through the week and stick to it – You’ll know exactly what you’re spending on groceries and avoid unnecessary spending at fast food and random purchases during the week.
  3. Buy in “Bulk” Online – There are so many products that you can buy online in sets of 2, 3, or 4 that are less expensive than in the store buying individually. For example, my husband found his favorite hair product on eBay in a set of three that was cheaper than buying it individually at the store.
  4. Date Night at the Park – Instead of going out for dinner or drinks where you’ll need to think about tip, paying for the meal or event, and maybe even parking, plan a “fancy” dinner date at a local park. Dress up, bring a candle, and have fun with a meal from home out in nature rather than just out.
  5. Outdoor Fun – Hiking, yoga outside, picnics, walk-and-talks, campfires, get dressed up and do a photo shoot with a friend for an afternoon… there are fun ways to connect with friends and loved ones that don’t involve spending money out.
  6. Sell Gift Cards – Have you ever gotten a gift card you haven’t used and probably won’t? Sell it to someone else! You can down-sell the gift card to someone who will use it and get cash quickly. I’ve seen posts online “Who wants a $50 gift card for $40? I’m not gonna use it!” This is a great way to give and get at the same time.

Red Cardinal Life: Why We Are Made to Stand Out

He didn’t know how beautiful he was. The red cardinal bounced from branch to branch, twittering, and looking around himself as I stared at him. His bright red took over the green leaves of the trees. He looked both regal and vulnerable; his color screamed, “Look at me!” while he seemed tiny in comparison to the tree he was perched.

I refused to look away. Birds never stay still for long. I didn’t want to lose him. His color was riveting, and he had my full attention, for just those few moments.

And he didn’t even know it.

He didn’t even know I stood there gazing, caught by his beauty. That I ignored my morning coffee in my hand, steam rising as I hoped he would bounce closer.

I realized then, isn’t he like me? Aren’t we all like him? Beautiful in our own way. One of a kind, stand out from the crowd type of people, yet we don’t even know it. We don’t realize how amazing we are. We don’t realize how special and unique our vision, our gifts/talents, our personalities, our passions make us in comparison to everyone around us.

Not a single person on earth is made to blend in. We were all made to stand out. In our humanity, we don’t have defense mechanisms like some birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, and sea creatures that make us blend in to our surroundings. We were born with thoughts and feelings that make us unique compared to everyone… even our siblings who may have had all the same inputs as us.

Our bodies, minds, and emotions are uniquely ours- uniquely created. We have influence over our families, friends, and coworkers around us that nobody else does. I look up to some women in my life who look down on themselves and the same may be true for me as it’s easy to get caught up comparing.

“I’m not like her.”

“What do I have to give?”

“I’m plain compared to that person.”

Going back to the birds all around me on the porch that morning, besides just not realizing all the time that we are each uniquely crafted with inherent beauty, it’s the differences that make the world so much better. I thought of how a woodpecker is different than a cardinal. They don’t compare. They just live. And both are beautiful and unique.

If we were to drop our defenses, stop trying to blend in, and just live beautiful in our own right, how would the world look different? Maybe we’d spend more time talking to people around us rather than scrolling on our phones. Maybe we’d go for that promotion at work, rather than talk ourselves out of it with negativity. Maybe we’d apply for a business license, taking our side gigs to a new level of work.

Unlike the cardinal who might never realize his beauty, let’s step into the fullness of all we are meant to be and able to do. Let’s let confidence over fear carry us to the next “thing” in life. Let’s stop trying to blend in and recognize how intrinsically valuable we really are, owning our gifts and capabilities in the process.

Let’s be okay with standing out. We were made to!

Party Tips Your Mama May or May Not Have Taught You

As I walk out adulthood on a new level… married, making “couple friends” with my husband, hosting parties and attempting to be a good guest at other events… there are a couple of “tips” I wanted to get out in writing to remember for myself and also share with others. Some lessons I’m learning on my own through experience and some I’ve gleaned from my mom through the years.

In particular, this summer I’ve had flashbacks of memories of advice my mom gave me about going to and hosting parties and picnics. And a couple of these tips I realized on my own that are important to have an easy, fun time at social gatherings like picnics and barbecues.

  1. Bring a dish you know YOU will like to potlucks and parties

So many times through the years, I’ve arrived to a picnic or potluck and looking at the spread of food my eyes (bigger than my stomach of course) have grown big with disappointment as I looked at all there was to eat, yet nothing appealed to me. Allergies, food sensitivities, and general preferences can keep a lot of people from eating “just anything.” When it comes to parties, you will have a more enjoyable time knowing you can put something on your plate that you prepared and know you like, especially if you have a longer day out planned.

I made the mistake of counting on food at a party once and brought a dessert that I knew would be enjoyed by most people (No Bake Cookies anyone?). Well, when it came to the main course, I was stuck with a plate of fruit and salad that I had to pick through to avoid the cheese tossed through it (lactose intolerant over here). I could have had a more pleasurable meal had I not just considered dessert, but also a more filling main dish or side dish of my own to bring that I knew I would and could eat.

2. When hosting a party, share what you’ll be providing in advance

This relates to point number 1. It’s just polite to share what you’ll be serving or providing in advance so others can make plans if they have allergies or food preferences that are different. They can bring a side or main meal that appeals to them. Don’t assume that what you like everyone will like. Let others get in on the fun and share… I know people enjoy sharing recipes and food, it’s part of what makes humanity so great, sharing a meal together. Let others get in on the process and give proper notice so they can plan on their end.

3. If you can leave a topping on the side, do it

Things like cheese, croutons, nuts, etc. can make the difference of someone eating or not eating a food at a party. If you can, leave the easy toppings on the side that people can choose to put on their portion.

My Jamaican husband makes some of the spiciest food for other people. I’ve always loved spicy foods, and love his cooking, but not everyone can handle it. We have learned that his cooking is too spicy for some group events and decided we can add some spice for flavor/ effect, but if we want it “extra spicy” (aka traditional Jamaican flavor), then we need to keep the hot sauce and peppers on the side. Once it’s in the dish it can’t be taken out. Similarly, I have an aunt who always says at events, “Now there’s no salt in this, so you’ll want to add your own amount that you like.” She knows people may have sodium problems or just don’t like foods as salty, and that’s totally fine. A salt shaker is always there to add more.

These are a few tips that I’ve applied to my own life this summer. Events centered on good food are important and fun, and when the food goes well, the party goes well! What other tips do you have for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues? Summer may be closing out soon, but fall socials and the holiday season are just as important to remembering food tips for yourself and others.

Emotional Energy: What Joy Does For You

We’re taking another look at Joy this month! Joy is an emotion that goes beyond the surface, it reaches your soul level. And we’re going to walk through the energy that joy brings—how it can work for you, if you let it!

First, let’s start with energy. Energy can be positive or negative in that as you spend energy in life, you connect emotions to the things you go through in your day. Some things are positive and are perceived with the emotions of “happy” or “cheerful.” Some things we experience are negative and are perceived with the emotions of “sadness” or “anger.”

“The word emotion comes from the Latin ‘energy in motion’”.

When you think about all the things you spend energy on, and the root of emotions being energy in motion, what could that do for your health if you are in a constant state of “negative?” Negative emotion will take away and deplete you. And there is scientific proof that negative people are sicker and have more diseases than positive people.

According to an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine, “…There is definitely a strong link between ‘positivity’ and health. Additional studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions—including traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors.”

We must be careful with how we think, what we put our energy on, where we focus our emotion. Emotions don’t just happen to us; we do have the power to change and shift our emotions. They are not static (clearly, by definition and experience, we ALL know this). So, what can more positive emotion, specifically joy, do for you?

  • Joy brings a sense of gratitude
  • Joy physically helps your body feel more relaxed and boosts your immune system
  • Joy allows you to stand strong, even as other things in life try to push you down

Picture tuning a radio to the station you want to listen to, and think about that the same way you would think about emotions. Let’s tune our emotional energy frequencies to be joy-filled, and joyful. Let joy be the dominant emotion in your day and ride that wave over other, negative emotions.

Genuine joyfulness is a healthy, good, and even Biblical emotion that brings positive energy to you. It lifts you up in every sense, rather than pulling you down…


This post was originally written by myself (Juliandra Jackson) for Essence of Pure Living a holistic wellness company with resources and services that can help you find healing and begin to manifest more joy in your life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

A link to the original article can be found here.