Joy isn’t happiness…or is it?

Written By: JoJoisms - Feb• 03•16

dumb questionIn the MANY years I’ve been struggling with chronic illness and other chronic issues, I can’t count the number of times Christians have told me “this too shall pass.”  Unfortunately, it may not pass in my lifetime.  I’ve also been told that though there is weeping in the night that joy comes in the morning.  Unfortunately, that morning is a long time in coming.  These things speak of what is coming for us after this life: the joy we will feel when we finally see heaven, our true home.  It’s not meant that we will feel better when we wake up or that our troubles will be gone. Further, they usually cite Job and how God allowed him to be tested and then restored Job to greater than he had prior.  However, God doesn’t promise us that He will restore us or take away our pain in this lifetime. He never took away Paul’s thorn in his side.   Job is a different lesson for us. It’s a lesson in knowing God is there and being faithful no matter what is going on in our lives.  Paul is a lesson to us in living for and being faithful to Him despite the troubles we encounter in this world. They are lessons of the agape love of God and our heavenly home after this lifetime, but not necessarily of a charmed life here on earth.

So I started looking at another saying I’ve heard over the years that Joy is different from happiness.  We might not be happy about our circumstances, but we are to have joy.  Makes a kind of sense, doesnt’ it?  You may not be happy about being in pain every day for 35 yrs, that you’ve been in financial upheaval for 10 yrs, or that you no longer have the use of a part of  your body or can no longer see a loved one.  However, you can have joy in the Lord knowing that after you have run the race, fought the good fight, been faithful to God in this life, you will have joy in heaven!

Does that mean we don’t get sad, upset, depressed, angry?  I don’t think so.  Does it mean we always feel happy or joyous?  I doubt it.  Does any human being feel joy at the loss of life, quality of life or about having to struggle to survive?  No!  But do we need to stay that way?  No we don’t!  How we get ourselves out of a funk due to trials is a topic I’m going to cover at a later date as I’m still working through it myself.  I stay busy, concentrate on making people laugh and keeping my sanity.

But this got me thinking about what joy and happy really mean.  So I googled and found this article!  Was not at all what I was expecting and it also doesn’t deal with how we struggle with chronic issues or get through them, but I thought it was important enough to share with you.  Here’s an excerpt from the article to give you an idea of why I was shocked.


An ungrounded, dangerous separation of joy from happiness has infiltrated the Christian community. The following is typical of the artificial distinctions made by modern Christians:

Joy is something entirely different from happiness. Joy, in the Biblical context, is not an emotion. . . . There is a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is an emotion and temporary; joy is an attitude of the heart.

Judging from such articles (and there are hundreds more out there), you’d think the distinction between joy and happiness is biblical. It’s not.


For now, let me say that I understand if you feel sad, angry, overwhelmed, frustrated, in pain, etc.  I feel it too, but by sharing our struggles, looking for answers, and trying to find the bright side of things we can use the struggles and trials we go through to bring light into a dark world.  More on that later too.

While we may not be able to feel joy or happiness (or even that God is with us) during times of extreme pain or stress or sadness, we can hold onto the promise that God IS with us and loves us and has a plan for our lives despite what we may be going through.  We have a purpose and we can strive to fulfill it with help from each other.  Amen?


I have chronic illness and I write for you!

Written By: JoJoisms - Jan• 27•16

SadI wrote this almost a year ago, but since this is the beginning of a new year, I thought I’d share it again to let you all know why I write this blog.  I pray it’s a blessing to you. Please share it on social media and with others who have chronic issues they struggle with.  


I write for you.  I write for all those with chronic illness who aren’t where I am or may never be.  I write for all those who can’t find the words to express how they feel to family, friends or doctors except with soft whimpers and cries.

I write for all who know what it’s like to be too tired to get up off the couch to go to bed.  I write for all those who are in so much pain each day they can hardly stand it.  I write for all those who feel alone or that nobody understands.  I write for all those who feel as if God has abandoned them.  I write for all those who don’t know how to answer the question, “how are you today?”

I write for all those who feel obligated to push themselves beyond what they can do because they don’t want to be seen as a wimp.  I write for all those who feel they have to justify their pain or fatigue.  I write for all those who are told they’re just complaining. I write for all those who have been told they just don’t want to get well.  I write for all those who are accused of not being a good enough Christian because they are still struggling.

I write for all of you who wish your pain would show on the outside so others would at least have some compassion.  I write for all of you who feel that without some heavenly inner strength, your disease would consume you.  And I write for all of you who don’t know that strength yet.

I have chronic illness and I write for you.

It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23

JoJoisms about illness

Written By: JoJoisms - Jan• 20•16

I’ve written many JoJoisms and created many Visual JoJoisms that relate to illness over the years. I thought I’d start the year off by sharing a few of them here this week.  Enjoy and please comment below with your thoughts.















Walking with God





















Silent Pain

Ringing in 2016

Written By: JoJoisms - Jan• 13•16

Happy New Yr TxtLast year, the evil year, was a black spot in Tabares family history.  While I don’t normally celebrate New Year’s Eve, I made a special exception for this one because 2016 HAS to be better than the year that shall not be named!

I planned on staying up this year, you know, just to make sure it left!  LOL  And I had some special things planned to ring in the NEW year that had special significance to the renewing and victory I was claiming in 2016.

Instead of champagne and noise makers, I decided to enter 2016 in prayer and with the symbolism of new beginnings from the Bible.  We drank to the new year with purple grape juice. Purple is the color of royalty and wealth.  Only people of wealth and means could afford things dyed with indigo as it was a most expensive mixture.  I usually wear purple anyway, but I did so with more gusto than usual.

I also thought about other things that reminded me of the promises in the Bible like rainbows, God’s symbol of his promise that He would not again destroy the earth by flood.  We had a flood of trials this past year I’d like to think will come to an end in 2016.  I also found a few numeric symbols: the number 8 (the Biblical number of renewal) and 17 (which the Bible says signifies victory or overcoming).  I also read scriptures that talk about the renewing of our minds and the fact that all things are made new as well as the scriptures that remind me that we can do all things in Christ Jesus who strengthens us.

My dd and son-in-law were here with us to bring in the brand new year and we pray that God will bless our family as we head into 2016 with renewed hearts and minds.  How did you celebrate and what do you pray for in 2016?

State of My Union Address

Written By: JoJoisms - Jan• 06•16

Happy New Year!My governing body had declared my right arm a disaster area after the last State of the Union address in which it was found that the pain level had reached Def Con 5.  That way I could qualify for some relief!  And it looks like I got it!

This week’s members of my governing body have determined that physical therapy has loosened up some scar tissue, given me back a bit of my range of motion, and I’m now working on gaining back my muscle tone and building up strength in that arm.  It was so weak at the beginning that I wasn’t able to lift a glass without shaking.  I’m now able to lift a glass in a single bound!

All body parts are present and accounted for.  All still have some level of pain and dysfunction, but all are moving forward.

I’m hopeful that 2016 will bring many blessings to the pain, fatigue and age related issues as well as our financial situation.  I’ll be posting more about those as they happen.

Right now, despite how awful The Year That Shall Not Be Named was, I am  hopeful that 2016 will be our year!  Thanking God for all His provision and for the blessings that came in the form of our friends and family this past year!  How about you?


JoJo’s Year in Review

Written By: JoJoisms - Dec• 30•15

Silly hatIn January of this year, after successfully unsubscribing from the Crisis a Month Club of 2014, we began The Year That Shall Not Be Named with hope for the future.  We were getting ready for our daughter’s wedding in June and I was beginning to feel a bit better since finding a dr who understood chronic illness.  However, it was lulling me into a false sense of crisis free security as it turned out to be the worst year in Tabares family history.

In February, a year and a half after we were moved across country for my dh’s job promotion and being praised for his work, he was let go because “It just isn’t working out.”  Truth be told, it wasn’t working out for my dh either.  He had endured racial slurs and filling three positions in the company (his old, his new, and one in between he had taken over when his former boss was let go).  It came right after he was finally allowed to train someone to offload some of his additional work.  Like RIGHT after she was trained.  It came without warning. It came without provocation. It came without severance or boxes or bows.  

The rest of the year frankly was a blur. It was spent looking for work and working on three small businesses to try to make ends meet.  I’m sorry to report that things didn’t work out as well as we had expected on any of those fronts.  The job front had comments like, “sorry but they hired someone with less experience so they could pay them less” or “you’re overqualified.”  Our real estate investments helped keep us afloat until HUD became more and more difficult to work with.  After my left hand was disfigured in a car accident in 2014, I had to relearn how to type.  When I was finally able to do so, I found that my Art of Eloquence website was not only outdated, but my shopping cart was corrupted and didn’t work and play well with JoJos.  It took me months, but I finally re-designed the site and have been working on a relaunch.  As if looking for work and running two businesses weren’t enough to handle, we began selling (Grape Stuff) physical products on Amazon just to keep things interesting.  That has been a whole other adventure and all kinds of entertaining.    

Our daughter’s wedding in June was beautiful and we welcomed a wonderful son-in-law to our family.  Unfortunately, just after getting home, I began showing my age.  All I did was stretch my right arm up.  I heard a crack and began a brand new 7 month journey of pain that apparently damaged the bursa, became bursitis and quickly turned into Frozen Shoulder.  As luck would have it, we had no insurance coverage since the job loss so we had to wait until we could get other coverage before I could see a dr.  I’m currently in physical therapy under the direction of the head physical terrorist.  I wrote about my experiences on Facebook recently and they can express my frustration as well as anything: 

“Whoever called them Physical Terrorists was right. Mine has a nice warm smile and asks me to relax while she’s RIPPING MY ARM OUT OF ITS SOCKET!”

“Making real progress on my shoulder! The physical therapist says I’m doing really well gaining back some of my range of motion. They have gone pretty aggressive with my therapy of late. HURTS when they do it, but it’s working! My Heil Hitler has morphed into a gesture somewhere between that and Horshack’s “Ooooh! Oooooh!” from Welcome Back Kotter.”

“The biggest problem and source of pain now is that the muscles in my right arm felt unwanted and took an extended vacation. I’m now working on gaining back the strength I lost over the last seven months. I have home exercises to do with a large rubber band, I call Rudy.”

For the first time in my entire life (and yes that’s a loooong time), I didn’t spend Thanksgiving with family.  Everybody say “awe…”  We just couldn’t afford to fly back.  Thankfully, a new family we met at church was going to be alone for Thanksgiving too and we spent Thanksgiving with them.  Thanking God for their family as they have been such a blessing to our family since moving to the Indy area.  

Finances being what they aren’t, it didn’t feel like Christmas for us this year.  We weren’t able to get gifts for our extended family or exchange with each other.  We didn’t feel like decorating the house until a few days before Christmas and we hadn’t shopped for our son til a couple days before.  His gifts got here the day before Christmas!  Whew!!   Thank you, Amazon Prime!

The brain fog thing has really been an issue of late.  Here’s something I posted that might help you understand:

“In other news, my brain has gone missing leaving no forwarding address. This morning i stared into the pantry for several minutes trying to remember what I came there for. After repeating this process a few times, it occurred to me I was looking for something that was kept in the fridge. So I told my son I was looking for the avocado juice. For those of you who don’t speak menopause, that means almond milk. Then I put the eggs in the pan and wondered why the weren’t cooking until I realized I hadn’t turned on the burner. If anyone happens to see my brain, please send it home. Answers to Fred.”

What I did get for Christmas was something I wouldn’t have asked for: 

“Just when I thought there were no more places on my body that could have pain… It started with my left knee, then my mid back, then one toe on my left foot, then spread to several joints on the tips of my fingers. That was followed by severe tightness leading to upper back and neck pain. And now the burning pain from the shoulder injury has spread to various areas of my rt arm. I have several scar tissue lumps that need to be massaged out. Owie! And the frozen shoulder physical therapy ain’t no picnic either! My physical therapist says pain is ok. As one with fibro, arthritis, headaches, TMJ, and lower back pain, I respectfully disagree. Can someone point me in the direction of an ibuprofen the size of Cleveland?”
So here I sit on Christmas day…working on my January blog posts for all three of my blogs.  The terrible horrible no good very bad year, the year that shall not be named is just about over and I’m sure that 2016 will bring our family blessings.  I pray your 2016 will also be blessed!  Please share how your year went and what your family looks forward to in 2016.

Merry Christmas!

Written By: JoJoisms - Dec• 25•15

Merry Christmas!  Here are some fun videos to bring you some Christmas joy this year.



More Christmas Fun

Written By: JoJoisms - Dec• 18•15

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Fun

Written By: JoJoisms - Dec• 11•15

Spreading Christmas Joy:

Northpoint’s iBand with a few Christmas Favorites!

And the Silent Monks singing Halleluia!

Free Gift from Art of Eloquence–Merry Christmas!

Written By: JoJoisms - Dec• 04•15

Free Christmas Gift for you!

One of my other websites, Art of Eloquence, is giving away a free gift this year for Christmas.  Thought I’d share it here too.  Here’s what it says on the site:

We are bringing back a gift we created several years ago. It’s been in the Art of Eloquence gift vault for a few years, but we thought it would make a nice present to give our new website visitors this year.

This is a downloadable gift containing many holiday ideas for making your family’s Christmas special this year.  With the economy being so bad this year many are worried about the Christmas holidays, but there are ways to give gifts from the heart that don’t put your credit card in a tizzy.  Here are some ideas for heart-felt gifts, gifts from the heart.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours here at Art of Eloquence!