Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter. I am so very thankful for this series I write weekly. By having this on my to-do list I am able to stay focused on the positive in my life. Over the weekend my husband and I faced a very trying day. It seemed fraught with endless stresses and it challenged us enormously. What at one time would have nearly destroyed us, we got through. Though not unscathed, we still were able to rally by day’s end and salvaged a fun-filled night for our family. In that time period we experienced many Simple Joys. Life is filled with hard times, stresses, and difficulties. We are put in terrible situations at times. How we handle them, work through them, and come out on the other side displays the character that we are made. Having Simple Joys to seek and then write about allows me a wholly wonderful perspective on life that has changed me for the better. Now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Floor Time. I am often busy, too busy to really spend quality time with my little ones. Between household chores, fixing dinner, helping the oldest with homework, and my chosen vocation as writer and on-air radio personality, there is little free time available anymore. Last week, while the cookies I had baked for Christmas were cooling, I took a rare opportunity to join my little ones on the floor. They were coloring in Christmas coloring books St. Nicholas had left in their shoes the night of December 5th. I adore coloring so I wedged my way in between them and started to do the same. The children were beaming with pleasure, a sight that did not go unnoticed by me. I made a mental pact with myself to be more available for Simple Joys of this type and stayed on the floor for a very long time. We colored, giggled, tickled, and my daughter, obviously needing to be near me, sat on my back or simply made sure some part of her (a leg or an arm) was touching me at all times. There is busy and there is missing out on life’s grandest pleasures. My babies won’t be babies much longer. While they still want me to, I’m going to be making time to enjoy these Simple Joys with them far more frequently.

Hugs. My two-year-old daughter is very explorative. She rarely sits down, rarely stops to ascertain her whereabouts, the possibility of danger, or her next move. The child is in a constant state of manic kinetic energy and gets frustrated when I try to slow her down to do anything. This past week, however, she has come to a screeching halt in front of me several times throughout the days and insisted on hugs. She demands, “Hug Mommy!” and throws her little arms up in the air until I swoop down to her level at which point she squeezes me tightly. My heart melts every dang time. She kisses me quickly and then scurries off again to her next adventure. Whatever has gotten into her, I’ll take it and hope she never quite loses it! As a mom watching her youngest child grow up at lightning fast pace it is the most awesome of Simple Joys to continue to form a bond in this demonstrative way with her.

Ornament-making. Currently my life revolves around the schedule of the Cub Scout Pack in our town. We certainly do not take part in every activity, but we do try to make most events. On Friday night the Pack held its annual Ornament-making night with each den coming up with an ornament for each boy to make two or more to give to two separate places: one for a nursing home resident and one for a needy family the Pack donates a tree, meals, and Christmas gifts. I love the fun activity with the message being one of giving and charity. This year I took the two younger children to be with me so I had my hands full, but my heart as well. My five-year-old, an incredible and meticulous artist in his own right, set to work immediately on making an ornament. My daughter, when not flitting about in her Christmas outfit, sat down to color some pages my co-den leader brought. The Scouts did an amazing job with the adorable ornaments my co-den leader thought up and they made several versions to send to the nursing home as well as the local family in need of some Christmas Cheer. It did my heart well to see such positivity associated with Christmas and the younger generation giving instead of asking for more. This is a Simple Joy that will keep me fueled when I meet adversity this time of year.

Singing at Merry Heart. The Scouts met at the local nursing home the day after ornament-making to sing for the residents, spent some quality time with them while the seniors played Bingo, and delivered some Christmas cards and the aforementioned handmade Christmas ornaments. The boys, ranging in age from six to eleven years old, sang classic Christmas carols while their parents and den leaders chimed in for support. We were terrible at best but we sang with heart, smiled the entire time, and spread Christmas Cheer throughout the room. Our boys then scattered around to find a senior to assist in the Bingo portion of the afternoon. The children were eager to play and comfortable with their partners though they had never met. At one point a man in a wheel chair who had listened intently and smiled throughout the boys’ performance, spoke up to relay that he, too, had been a Scout many many years ago. He told the children that Scouting was among his most favorite memories in his life. He told them that not only would these memories stay with them for a lifetime, but that Scouting would help them in all parts of their lives. It was a powerful message. Before leaving the Scouts thanked their senior friend, wished all a Merry Christmas again, and left with a warm feeling in their hearts. Those Simple Joys are the kind that truly will color them for a lifetime; they did me!

Making a new friend. A tweet showed up in my timeline a few weeks ago written by a man. He was elated for his wife who won a $600 handbag. I commented on his tweet and, he tweeted back. Our conversation grew at 140 character segments. Finally I asked to become Facebook friends to which he accepted. We find we keep similar schedules and have made daily conversations a part of our routine. Philosophically we think similarly, we both value family, and we just gelled. I constantly find the world shrinking with social networking. I am tickled to add Ted as one of my newest friends and a complete Simple Joy in my life.

Time with my Husband. As I mentioned, Saturday was a particularly trying day for my husband and me. Being tested is never easy and although what my husband was going through had nothing directly to do with me at all, I hurt on his behalf. His struggles are mine simply because we are the ultimate team. We are one. When issues resolved themselves I was relieved. We salvaged the evening with our children and enjoyed a truly fun-filled evening. Once the little ones were all tucked into bed we watched two movies. What they were doesn’t matter, what does is that we spent time together, talked, laughed, bonded, and reaffirmed that we are the most important people to one another. Surviving adversity and growing from challenges make the Simple Joys we share all the more special and for that I am most grateful.

I am acutely aware how important Simple Joys is in my life. Writing this series has been the conduit to finding more peace and happiness in my life. I have learned that even in the worst of scenarios there is a window to peak out and find Simple Joys float by and thus change my circumstances. I am appreciating the here and now more and am reveling in my personal relationships deeply. In short, by allowing me to share Simple Joys in this personal yet public way, I am forging a life that I am most proud to live and most grateful to share with my children. My sincere hope is that my weekly sharing encourages you to look inwardly at the Simple Joys you experience. No matter what you are going through there are opportunities for Simple Joys to be found. Eventually the openness to Simple Joys leads to more Simple Joys and at some point you begin to create the Simple Joys yourself. Whether you write them down or merely think of them, Simple Joys could do much to add balance and happiness to your life.


  1. That was about the nicest thing i could have imagined,,and it grew out of that tweet,,i'm glad that i have you as a friend Candice,,you have made a difference in me in just a very short time and you have reopened so many feeling i have for my wife Renee,,I could never repay you that.
    I also think there are more of these instant friendships out there IF people slow down and take the time to just say HI in 140 characters or less,,:)
    I Love the piece and am going to send it to the four corners,,look out world,,here she comes,,:)

  2. i believe those of us that cherish every single simple moment are the richest ever. more valuable than all the wealth that all the kings have put together!!

    thx for sharing!


  3. What an uplifting post this is! Making ornaments...who DOES that anymore...and hey, why not? I visited a friend a week and a half ago who was baking painted bulbs in her oven to give as Christmas gifts! They were beautiful and I was happy to see that she still had the time to bring out her artistic side. We all need a little of that. Yep, simple joys!

  4. Love the shot of your basket racers! I'm glad you're finding time to have some fun with the family. Merry Christmas!

  5. I have a stack of coloring books and a box of crayons at my house. I love to color with my grandson or my nieces. Sometimes on the same page or on separate but it's a lot of fun and really is a simple joy. I even take them to Sunday breakfast at our restaurant meet ups. Keeps EVERYONE behaving and giggling.....=)