Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome in on this Tuesday, Simple Joys day. Some hours, days, and even weeks have their fair share of “rough patches” and I have experienced many. Even since Simple Joys has become a weekly part of my life, those times still rear their ugly head and throw me for a loop. What Simple Joys does for me is offer a fresh, new, and invigorating perspective that in the face of adversity, stress, sadness, and frustration, there is still goodness, optimism, and love. Simple Joys as a vital part of each week and I hope it is for you, too. Now, without further ado, here is today’s Simple Joys.

Party. People we know through Karate invited my entire family to a party. Over the years we have sat in the dojo waiting room smiling, talking, cheering, and supporting our children as they learned, matured, and advanced through their ranks. Several of the parents, like my husband and me, have been or are currently students as well. Recently four teens tested and passed their black belt rank test; this was a party in their honor. We were so tickled to be included and delighted our entire family was included. The party was a mix of parents, teenagers, elementary school-aged children, and my two youngest children ages four and one. There was a jovial, friendly, good-natured vibe, great music, delicious food, and no weirdness at the mix of ages or personalities. From shooting pool to dancing, dining on the fare and talking about anything and everything, this party was absolutely fantastic! When good people share an interest, support one another in their endeavors, and genuinely like one another, a good time will be had during a gathering. Upon leaving my husband and I insisted we would be the next to assemble the group. I’m already planning and I cannot wait for the event!

Scouts. I’ve written several times about my son’s and my involvement in Cub Scouts. This week he advanced to the rank of Webelos, a very grand distinction. As his den leader I was proud and emotional about his accomplishment, but also those of the other boys in my den. Like a teacher, something I was in my former career, being a den leader provides ample opportunity to watch the younger generation grow, mature, evolve, and blossom. We were first introduced at the end of the boys’ Kindergarten year and made great strides in creating and fostering a loving, nurturing, and respectful environment that made learning fun and the requirements engaging. Our boys have gone on “Go See ‘Ums” (fieldtrips), marched in countless parades in the community, camped, learned new skills, and worked together to help others. As they crossed over to their Webelos chapter of Cub Scouts, it dawned on me, once again, how quickly childhood passes. Our boys are taller, ganglier, goofier, but also intrinsically respectful, intuitive, and kind. They are the seeds of the men they will become and demonstrate the best of the youth of today. There are times volunteering can seem a bit of a hardship; schedules have to be juggled all the more, electronic paperwork has to be filed by a deadline, requirements need to be finished correctly; but I am so very lucky to be a part of these boys’ lives. I get to be a part of their formative, moldable years and leave my mark on them. We get along, really well, and we laugh, a lot. We learn, we struggle; we get frustrated, yet we face the obstacles together and learn the valuable lesson that through teamwork, all things are possible. We repeat “Do Our Best”, the Cub Scout motto, and recite the Cub Scout Promise. We understand these words as truths and instill in these young men that they are capable of changing their world for the better. There is nothing more powerful or optimistic than that. And all the while I get a front row seat of these boys’ “growing up” years. Simple Joys abound in Scouts.

Career Opportunities. Many times I’ve explained my passion for writing and how I am simply compelled to write. First my blogging was at a NASCAR site, then I started this project. Eventually my career snowballed and now includes six sites where my articles, columns, blogs, and pieces run as well as two sites where I can be heard on Internet radio. This has happened in a relatively short time leaving me breathless and wholly overwhelmed in the best of ways. I want to take every opportunity that comes my way and, one day, make this a lucrative career. When I say that to my husband or my friend and mentor Mike they both tell me to slow down. They, far wiser and patient than I, individually set me straight by refocusing my energy. They remind me that if I love what I am doing (and I honestly adore it!) then the money will come… one day. And, it if doesn’t, it really doesn’t matter, for loving what you do is payment enough. Some days that is a bitter pill to swallow as I think most people want to help provide for their families. I do know, however, that writing and receiving comments from people that my writings resonate with them, does propel me more than a paycheck does. Connecting with people through my words is the ultimate. Everything else is gravy. I like gravy a lot, but the meal is what nourishes the soul.

Gum. I like to chew gum that provides me with “kissable breath”. Over the years I’ve tried many different gums, sugar free, to try and find my “signature gum”. Finally, after what was becoming a futile search for a gum that stayed tasty, chewed well, and whitened my teeth, I stumbled upon the best kind for me. It is called “Dentyne Pure” and I love the Mint with Melon Accents variety. A burst of flavor hits my mouth upon the first chew and consistently outlasts my chewing needs; and I can chew for hours! It is necessary to have this gum in my car, my purse, and in the cupboard at home. At one point I could not find it, but thankfully if was restocked at my local grocer. I highly recommend this gum and label it a constant Simple Joy in my life.

Lipstick. Along with kissable breath I like to have kissable lips. They go hand in hand in my book! Taking glamour cues from my mother led me to believe that it was rarely appropriate to leave the house without lipstick. Consequently, I don’t. Over the years, along with searching for the perfect gum, I have searched high and low, expensive and cheap, for the perfect lipstick for me. I have miles of clothes I’ve stained with red, pink, and coral candidates, and dry lip stories from lipsticks that dehydrated my once supple lips. But, one day, as a gift form Santa Claus in my stocking, I was given the “perfect” lipstick! It was a formula that stays put on the lips for hours, even after a meal or lots of kissing, and came with its own lipgloss that keeps lips moist. I have bought many colors, eaten countless meals, and kissed a ton, and this lipstick, bar none, is fantastic! Recently, however, it is very difficult to find. I am distraught as it’s like losing the best boyfriend ever! If you find a source, please let me know because I swear by this stuff and am running dangerously low on it! My children and husband are desperate to see me stay with this lipstick as it saves their clothing, heads, and lips from revealing my inferior lipstick tryouts. The brand is Maybelline and the type is Supestay 18 Hour lipcolor. Showcasing my lips with moisturizing, stay-put color is a very important Simple Joy!

Simple Joys run the gamut for me from enjoying the time I have with my young children, enjoying my peers, my new career, or the little things in my life that make my day easier and fuller. It is always encouraged that you write your Simple Joys and share them here, or just do them privately or mentally. Adding Simple Joys to your life breeds Simple Joys and creates a happier, richer, and more fulfilling world in which to live. My goal is to have everybody who reads this post embrace the Simple Joys around them daily.

1 comment:

  1. Very good today Chief!
    My youngest will be crossing over to become a bear in a couple of weeks.

    My "signature gum" is Big Red and has been since Jr. High! It is my secret weapon to doing well in school or other learning environments. I learned somewhere that different learning styles retain & focus better with certain nervous energy dissipation techniques. Some need to bounce their knee, others need to tap, some just need to suck on a hard candy, some need to chew gum. I've found this really does help! YAY for Big Red!

    Feeling of Accomplishment. I took my final exam last night for my medical coding class. I am done, until it is time for me to take the national exam for certification. Wednesday we go to our last class to go over the test, learn tips on how to take the national exam & hopefully partake in what I expect to be delicious food to celebrate all we have accomplished. For many years I sat with groups of women, feeling less than because I didn't have a "piece of paper" showing that I have some smarts. I never finished college. But the funny thing is, I have a piece of paper now (granted it isn't a degree, but a certificate), and I don't even care. It is the sense of accomplishment of going through the class and succeeding.
    In a couple of weeks I'll be traveling to Chicago to walk 39 miles in a weekend. I know what this accomplishment feels like. I am looking forward to feeling this accomplishment of all the hard work of raising the donations (really the hardest part) and the physical demands of the walk itself, in a new city. I will have friends at the end cheering me on & that is pretty awesome.

    Excitement. Living in "NASCAR Country", the air in May lights up for the All-Star race and the Memorial Weekend tradition of the Coca-Cola 600. Yes, there are some downsides... more traffic, can't find a seat in a restaurant, & the mall is packed like last minute Christmas shoppers. But the air, I always feel the air change around this time. It really becomes electric with excitement and activity. I notice it weeks before now though. The track getting ready and presentable to greet its 100,000+ guests, the military helicopters practicing for the 600 pre-race shaking my windows as they fly over my house, the campers filling the camp grounds, the merchandise, radio & TV trucks rolling in, and all the hospitality tents being raised up. Yesterday, I was out and about doing errands and there were workers putting up the "Welcome Race Fans" flags on ALL the light posts from the track to I85. A couple of miles worth. Very exciting! Soon the blimps & biplanes will have their banners attached to their rear ends circling high above the track and fans will be rolling in to watch their favorite driver work the wheel. Then as soon as it came, they will be gone... and plans will start for next year. ;)