Monday, November 8, 2010

Great Joys

In the hustle and bustle that comes with life, especially life with the holiday season on the way in short order, how do you find great joys? Can you identify them easily and make time for them, or are you too disconnected, bogged down, and out of touch with what makes you truly happy?
Some equate great joys with money and in this economy that is a dangerous way to pin moods and capacity for joy. Others can only conceive of joys revolving around media - television, iPod, computer. What I propose is a list of true great joys be constructed personally before another day goes by. Take a few minutes to find out what truly makes you happy, turns you on, and keeps you moving in a positive manner throughout your day.
For me this list would have to include spending time with my children before bed reading them a story, talking, cuddling and bonding before the next day begins. They are at their most serene and sincere and the stresses of the day, annoyances that may have cast a pall, gone into the ether, and all that is left are pajama-clad Angels who smell sweet and clean, feel soft and huggable, and who sprinkle my face with tinkly kisses. Those are among the greaest joys in my life.
Spending quality time with my husband would also fall into the category of great joys. For some this is a no-brainer, but, unfortunately I understand not all couples actually enjoy one another's company. I thrive on time spent with my husband be it with our family or alone. We are the best of friends, have much (but not all) in common, and share many passions.
Entertaining friends is also high on my list of great joys. We had two different couples over for dinner this weekend. The evenings were relaxed, full of interesting and hilarious conversations, and a good time was had by all! More often than not we are having people over to hang and dine. We have friends from high school all the way up through recent times and we make time for all of them because we value friendship so highly. It is easy to  isolate, fend off issuing invitations because "the house isn't clean" or "I don't know what to make", but entertaining for us is a wonderful excuse to keep the house in relatively neat order and the food is as intricate as a five course meal or as simple as pizza and soda!
I'm finding great joy where I'd least expect it in recent months. I now enjoy my time on the elliptical early in the morning. I used to detest exercise in all of its forms and would not see the benefits. Now I know that not only is my body benefitting from the daily movement, but my brain is as well. Spending all day with three dependent children is taxing. Starting the day alone, working up a sweat, and swimming in my uninterrupted thoughts is one of the greatest joys I have ever experienced!
Reading is another joy for me. I adore getting lost in the written word, escaping to a new world, befriending characters in a story whose images I alone conjure up. It is and always has been an endless joy. There is far too little time for me to indulge in this joy, but I do as often as I can and know one day I will have far too much time for reading. My children will one day be gone and I will have books surrounding me. I'm trying to enjoy each minute I have with them when they steal me away from my book, magazine, or article.
Writing, as most of you now know, is one of my all-time great joys. I am finding so much more out about myself on this journey that began with this blog project. There are myriad topics I've yet to examine from my perspective and so look forward to exploring. I am honored that you come along with me. Having you here adds such depth to the joy I experience!
Here's my list written extemporaneously as I sit at my computer at 5:00 a EST. I have logged thirty minutes on my elliptical, written the blog, and have the day laid out before me. The last great joy I could imagine today would be having a ton of responses to read offering up your lists of great joys. Let's compile them and ward off the stresses that are bound to accompany the upcoming (Joyful) holiday season! If we can find great joy somewhere every day then we are certainly equipped to handle anything that comes our way!


  1. My greatest joys are family and friends and anything I can set out to do and complete. Everything else is just waiting :-)

  2. I will admit to being extremely disconnected to life as a whole. However, there are little things that lift me and I find joy in.

    When I was teaching the little ones at church, I found great joy when I would get a sweet, small smile and a wave with a wonderful "Hi/Bye Miss Julie!" These were most special when it was out of the classroom. The joy grew exponentially when a hug was included in the greeting. It is always wonderful to continue to get "Hi Miss Julie" several years after having them in class. :) Along with those years of teaching the 2 year old babies are the stories from the parents telling me how excited their child was knowing they were coming to my class. What a blessing those stories are- to me they were God's way of telling me I was doing His work, well.

    Because I am not big on birthday parties, I've recently started making special cakes for the kids for their birthdays. After watching several seasons of Cake Challenge and Ace of Cakes, I thought to myself, "I can do that!" So I now work with fondant, gum paste, luster dust, and various cake tools to make cakes for my kids. While it stresses me out to no end because of my perfectionist ways, I still love to do it. I find it relaxing and knowing that my kids appreciate and enjoy bragging on my cake is pretty cool.

    The birth, wedding, or new home of friends and family. I always rejoice in those milestones and enjoy sending a gift to reflect the occasion. I enjoy making gift baskets. My "love language" is gifts, giving and receiving... I take so much joy in shopping for, and putting the baskets together. I've been told numerous times that I should start a business. I know that if I did that, it would become work and I think the joy would fade. Who wants that?!

    Walking brings me joy. Taking a few hours out, putting on the headphones and walking... ahh! Plus knowing that I am ultimately walking for a cause brings satisfaction and joy that I might be bringing on a change in the lives of many.

    Apparently I also have a deep seeded need to please people... all of my joy has something to do with bringing joy to others. ;)

    I also like to decorate. I do a lot of decorating in my head since it takes money to decorate. The sight of a fan deck (the stack of paint chips that interior designers have) makes me happy knowing the possibilities that are bound together within the covers! LOVE IT!

    Organizing, purging of stuff that clutters the house. There is this lightening and joy that comes to my heart to see the clothes in the closet all facing the same direction. Or the spices in the cabinet in alphabetical order (except the most frequently used ones- they are up front). Having things organized around me, makes me feel more relaxed and able to enjoy those closest to me. (that reminds me...)

    and finally,

    Reading of other people's joy and sharing my joys with them.

  3. Woodworking always brought me joy. Making something from nothing always gave me a great sense of satisfaction.