Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187 Chatter. My children return to school after a long, lazy, fun-filled summer. It is always a difficult transition back to routines, schedules, homework, and expectations, but there is also a sense of awe, excitement, and wonder when a new school year commences. My approach is to help my children find the Simple Joys surrounding their school experiences. Although it may seem too sophisticated a concept for a child to be perceptive enough to find the Simple Joys that exist amid stress and mundanity, I would counter that children are actually the experts in seeking out Simple Joys. In fact, many times our children are punished for indulging in Simple Joys at school and thus are sent to the principal or their behaviors warrant a call home to the parent. The only thing children need to learn is how to incorporate Simple Joys into their “working” life so the one does not suffer because of the other! Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Fakesgiving. Every year my husband and I roast a huge turkey with stuffing and gravy, prepare cranberry sauce with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and have an intimate group of friends over to celebrate how thankful we are they are in our lives. The friends each bring a great side dish that will complement the meal and we share a “Thanksgiving” meal at the ‘unofficial’ end of summer. We find this to be a most rewarding event because not only do we get to indulge in some of our favorite foods prepared by many hands, but we get to share a very special day with friends as the Thanksgiving in November tends to be more about extended family. Eating outside (weather permitting), laughing and dining with friends, and telling them how important they are to us, makes Fakesgiving an annual Simple Joy.

Back-to-school shopping. The supplies creep into the discount and stationary stores just after Fourth of July firecracker remnants are being swept away. I roll my eyes and feel momentarily incensed that the stores are rushing my seasons, but I am still pulled inexplicably to the brand new supplies. From ten cent notebooks to packages of pens, organizational binders to freshly sharpened pencils, I am drawn to these items like the proverbial bees to honey. Of course, the fact that, after twenty years of being a student I chose to continue to start my year in September and end it in June as a public school teacher tells you a lot about my personality, the pull is just as strong now that I am nearly a decade away from that career. Having my children in school now, of course, keeps my addiction fed. Highlighters, index cards, rulers, and crayons get purchased in bulk. Fortunately, the prospect of getting new supplies keeps my fourth grader interested in returning to school which is a very good thing. Back-to-school shopping is a necessary evil, but, in this family, it is more of a Simple Joy!

Connecting. There seems to be little more in life that is more electric and wonderful than connecting with another human being. I live a dichotomy of being isolated, hiding in my home and surrounding myself with my family, and being gregarious and outreaching, making new friends whenever possible. When I am in a zone, feeling confident and extroverted, I put feelers out far and wide for new friends. My job keeps me in constant contact with new and fascinating people. I conduct a lot of interviews and that involves spending a chunk of time with a person. Some interviews go well but there is no personal connection. And then, sometimes, the connection formed is so strong, so chemical, that a solid and mutual friendship forms instantly. That has happened to me recently. A very dynamic, multi-faceted athlete was my subject and we had definitely hit it off when I interviewed him on our radio show. We exchanged information, I interviewed him, and then we started a friendship that is based on mutual trust, interest, and affection. Making new friends with strong connections is a timeless and wondrous Simple Joy!

I hope you join me in finding Simple Joys. My list appears on this page weekly, but my sincere hope is that it inspires you to write or, at the very least, think of all the Simple Joys that surround your day. When we open or mind and heart to the wonder that is Simple Joys, our lives become all the more positive and, well, joyful!

Please join me tomorrow when I wax poetic on an entirely new subject. Happy New {School} Year!


  1. Wow Fakesgiving seems nice. You had all of the trimmings.

    As far as connecting, it is always nice to meet sweet people like yourself. Thank you for reaching out to me. I feel healed by your friendship already.

  2. What no invite to your fakesgiving !!!!

    I agree meeting people who one personally connects with is the best, as I did last Sunday.

  3. I need to put together a "Fakesgiving" sooner. Thanks.

  4. I ADORE school supply shopping. Most DEFINITELY a Simple Joy. I have 3 children in 3 different schools this year with more than 3 lists!
    Since we stopped homeschooling, I made a point of taking each child by themselves for supply shopping. The reason is twofold. One it is less confusion when they are dropping stuff into the cart, and less crazy with all the people clogging the aisles. :) Two, it is time with each child just with momma'. I love it. I have always loved school supply shopping. When we were homeschooling, the day the curriculum landed on my doorstep by UPS, was like CHRISTMAS!

    Connecting will be the word of the week for me. As I venture into a whole new world of "networking", I guess you could call it. I will be attending my 1st conference since officially becoming a Certified Medical Coder. I will be meeting other coders, going to breakout sessions, and submersing myself into their world... as I've only dipped my toe in those waters thus far.
    The best part of this trip is that I get to see my best friend of 27 years. It has been way too long since I have been to her house, and just way too long since I've seen her. God knew what He was doing when we got married just a week apart and we both moved across the country from California to Tennessee and North Carolina. :) It is never a REconnection for us regardless of time spent apart. I know that I can ALWAYS count on her! I can't wait to see her! Again, beyond a Simple Joy! ;)

  5. I love my job. I get to met the best people. My job is marketing online to singles and writing about relationships. My girls are adults now and both in college. Both are excited to be in school again. I miss them more this time of year but I'm so proud they are in college and doing well. I will find the simple joy in being with them when I can.
    I love this post. Thanks for connecting with me and sharing your sweet posts with the world.

    Hugs ,

  6. I really like the Fakesgiving holiday tradition you partake in; it's a great way to say, "You matter to me" to your friends in a meaningful, personal way before the holiday season (Halloween through New Years) claps it's insanity upon everyone. It's so much harder to find quality time for friends during this Silly Season.

    Kudos to you and your family.

  7. Just loved all three topics..all of them reflected a massive deal of simple joys & enough effect to inspire anybody and think over his/her own life's simple joys..Its always been fantastic reading your posts & lips never stops smiling out. U inspire us all so very much.

    U said~ ''When we open or mind and heart to the wonder that is Simple Joys, our lives become all the more positive and, well, joyful!''

    Yes..thats so damn true..well said. people who are not doing it just need to atleast try it a bit and then rest will go with the flow.

    Thanks for all the lovely thoughts & sharing all this with us. Love u Candice!!