Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter. The holidays are here and for the next 5 weeks the schedules we keep, activities we partake, food we make, and shopping we do increase, spread us thin, and make us frazzled. Even those, like me, who embrace the season,

love the myriad parts, can find they get worn out, over-tired, a bit sick, and stressed out. But, since I prepare all year long for this time-period, I don’t want to ruin it with sour moods, irrational behavior, and outbursts. Once again, seeking the Simple Joys that exist all around, especially in this season where they are ever-present and numerous, makes the Christmas season all the more special to me. I hope by experiencing Simple Joys yourself you will find this Holiday Season provides the most pleasure. Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Head cuddles. As I wrote last week, my mom-in-law is a very special woman in my life. While watching a movie with the family over Thanksgiving Weekend she started to caress my hair like I was her little girl. Her hands are so gentle and always make me feel like I am a princess with the most luxurious hair. When I was a teenager and was simply dating her son she used to do this absentmindedly. Not having a daughter of her own, I volunteered and played the part well. After giving her three grand-children over the last 9 years there has been little opportunity to connect like this. Having the chance this past weekend was a Simple Joy that brought me back to the Simple Joys of my youth! And, yes, I still feel like a princess when she does that!

Wrapping presents. I was able to wrap the first of my Christmas presents this past weekend. This is not quite so unusual for most, but for me it is very late. By the time October goes I am usually finished shopping and wrapping all of my gifts. With my new career I am behind that schedule sorely. Wrapping a gift in the first time in ages brought back the immense joy I feel adorning a gift I lovingly picked out for my loved one. I take pride in the paper selection, crisp corners, and beautiful outcome. When I have a pile of wrapped gifts I smile knowing I have a bunch of secrets to place under the tree. Wrapping presents has been and continues to be a Simple Joy for me that soothes me whenever I indulge the activity.

Super Glue. We decorated our home over the weekend. As soon as the leftovers are stored from Thanksgiving overnight, I know it is time to adorn the house. We do a lot, although this year we are in “moderation” because of our two year old daughter who is vastly inquisitive, does not understand actions have consequences, and is willful. After unwrapping several of my prized Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments that I have amassed for the better part of two decades, I left my daughter in the room while I stepped out to bring up another box. When I returned several of my collectible ornaments were broken! Her little hands must have set to work before I had taken my last step out of the room. There were four ornaments manhandled to the point of breakage! I was livid! Not so much at my daughter but at myself for trusting she could control herself in my absence. Fuming, I took the damaged ornaments into the kitchen where the Super Glue is kept on top of the refrigerator away from toddler reach. I was in such a tizzy I couldn’t even glue properly. Thankfully my husband showed up at that exact moment, listened to my plaintive tale at my “stupidity”, told me to leave so he could fix it and I could calm down, and set straight to work. When I returned sometime later, with a smile on my lips, lightness in my heart, and an amends made to my daughter whom I adore, my ornaments were fixed! I credit the Super Glue as the Simple Joy, but I realize now that once again it is my husband who brings the Simple Joys into my life constantly!

Swimming. Having my in-laws stay at a hotel means we get to swim! The indoor pool at their hotel is tons of fun for my family full of swimmers. We indulge in a fantastic breakfast and then change into our swimsuits and enjoy a raucous good time. All of the children have been taking swimming lessons since early in their life so they are tremendous swimmers, including our daughter. I, too, enjoy swimming immensely. Usually my posts about swimming come in summer when I indulge in my favorite activity at my parent’s lake, but to have the opportunity to swim numerous times with my family in the middle of autumn is a Simple Joy I feel most lucky to experience!

Breaking Bread. What I enjoy so much about the holidays is sharing a meal with family/loved ones. The entire meal becomes an event simply because of the sheer fact that so many are at the table. Whether we are home in our dining room or out to eat at a restaurant, the number of us together at the table heightens the importance of the meal. The times we are together are few and far between so when we are I am acutely aware of how special the time is. Having smiling faces, a bountiful feast, and good-humored laughs emanating from those gathered are Simple Joys that keep me fueled throughout the year.

Like many, I had my share of frustrations, awkward moments, and uncomfortableness over the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend, but the difference this year was I set my mind to find the plethora of Simple Joys before me. I am fortunate; I love my family and my in-laws. I am surrounded by people who love and respect me, but even in those ideal situations, being surrounded by loved ones, out of routine, and being thrown together for such a long time yields periods of discomfort. By clearing my head, changing my perspective, and, at times, simply walking away for a breather allowed for a much more harmonious, pleasurable, and successful holiday visit. Simple Joys are becoming the glue that holds me together at all times! I urge you to make a weekly (daily?) list of your Simple Joys to keep the positive in your perspective.

Please join me tomorrow as I offer up a ton of Stocking Stuffer suggestions for people of all ages!


  1. On Friday for the first time in year I spent some time with acquaintances in a pub. Not something I'll ever make a habit of, but as an occasional experience it was good fun, good company in a friendly environment with a lovely open fire to gaze into.

  2. I was not home when my oldest got home from school today as I was out running errands and FINALLY getting another Simple Joy of mine (next item). I am home 99.9% when my kids get home from school. I think it is funny the reaction I get from them when I do arrive home. "WHERE WERE YOU?!" I realized today that they aren't irritated, it is just unusual and they don't like the change in their schedule. Even the 14 year old. They expect and I think enjoy that their mom is home everyday when they walk through the door. Nice feeling for this mom.

    The other Simple Joy I alluded to earlier is.: The Starbuck's holiday red cup! YAY! Fill it with their delicious Caramel Brulee Latte and I'm in for a slice of Heaven for a few moments. Today I got my first one of the season. Aaahhhh! SO YUMMY! I even told the barista that I had been looking forward to this for months! :)

  3. Thanksgiving starts my Simple Joys. Actually once the apples are ready to be picked in September or October is when I start. I prepare and freeze seasoned apples ready for pies or cakes for the holidays and beyond. Then Thanksgiving week in preparation for the meal with family. Trimming the tree is usually done the Friday after Thanksgiving. Picking out and wrapping the gifts, Christmas music playing and Christmas cookies are ready by then! Going to midnight Mass. Watching our children and grandchildren open their presents on Christmas Day! Spending time with family and friends is my Simple Joy too! Thank you for your great post! Lisa

  4. Great post and passing it along! :)

  5. Your writing really reminds me of all of my simple pleasures and i realized that I may even be taking a few for granite and that scared me. that is a good thing,now i can make sure they are not taken for granite,,Thank You,,

  6. wow...beautiful blog site i like it.This looks so delicious and satisfying,but i hope peoples are like it.Thanks .. ration MREs meals ready-to-eat , disaster food aid