Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter. Even I can experience low periods during the holidays. As I like to remind, I am human and given to react like all do at certain times. I adore Christmas Season, that is certainly true, but I get sad that some of the people

are no longer around the table anymore, that my family isn’t closer to enjoy the entire month together, or that my husband and I can’t find more time to hangout while he’s working fervently on his Master’s Degree. I get sad, a bit depressed, lonely, and a case of the blahs occasionally which seems the antithesis of my personality this time of year. But, even though these feelings settled in briefly this past week, I had Simple Joys to revive my mood and make me concentrate on all I do have and not what I don’t. Each week is another opportunity to learn and grow, a fantastic fringe benefit of writing Simple Joys. Now, without further

ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Playing Tag. A while back I had written that my Kindergartner, his sister and I played a game while waiting for the bus called “Toss the Stick” in which we tossed a stick as high as we could. We enjoyed this game immensely, but, like most things, we eventually tired of the monotony. One day my son’s eyes got wide with excitement when he suggested, “Mom, let’s play Tag!” I hadn’t played since I was a kid, but I said, “Sure!” He screamed “You’re it!” and dashed to a base which, according to him, are the trees and large rocks in the yard we play in while waiting for the bus. Our neighbor, thankfully, doesn’t mind. Well, that little kid of mine can run fast! I chase him around the yard and, although I can really catch him, usually let him get to safety. Sometimes, when he does get caught, I run him around the yard, but I’m always conscious to let him catch me. It does my heart good both literally and figuratively to run and play with the boy; we’re both huffing and puffing and face aching from laughter, and I feel like we continue to bond. Playing Tag with my son is a pure Simple Joy.

Doctor’s Appointment. Part of my lousy mood last week was due to an impending doctor’s appointment. My husband had asked me earlier in the month if I’d like him to drive me, but it seemed like such a hassle with our children that I said no. On the night of the appointment my nerves were raw and my mood terrible. He again asked if he could drive me. This time I said yes amid my tears. We quickly hustled the children to the car, he dropped me off, I had the appointment, and he picked me up immediately upon me finishing there. Once in the car my husband went away from our path home. “We’re not going home yet,” was the answer my husband gave when I inquired where we were going. Instead he took the entire family on a Christmas lights tour. Wherever there was a cool light’s display we drove to to look. It was a lovely evening and another Simple Joy that melts down to how much my husband values and loves me and our family.

The Polar Express. Watching Christmas movies and specials have always been a part of my holiday traditions, but with a toddler running amok I rarely get to watch this year. My sons chose to watch The Polar Express on a rare afternoon with no homework and no place to be in the evening. I relented because I love that film. My daughter excitedly sat right next to me, thrilled I wasn’t planted at the computer or in the kitchen. From the moment the movie started until the closing credits she sat enraptured, watching every scene! This child can’t sit still for longer than six seconds so you can imagine my surprise and delight that she was so involved in the movie! My sons, daughter, and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie together and I was overjoyed to be able to share something like that with my two-year-old! Watching anything, but especially a favorite Christmas movie, with my children is indeed a Simple Joy I treasure.

Holiday Boutique. One night my children and I packed into the car and drove to my oldest son’s school for the annual Holiday Boutique, a “store” full of reasonably priced items ($.25 - $10) that the children can buy gifts for their entire family. The children are afforded this luxury by the PTO who does it as a service for the children. They are allowed to bring money in during a chosen day at school and shop without prying eyes, but there is also one night the parents can accompany the children. We went for that one night and really went to town. Normally my son would get $10 to spend on the entire extended family, but, with me and my wallet there, we upped the ante! I was taken in by all of the cute items, many of which said “#1 Mom”, “Best-Loved Dad”, and “Favorite Grandma/Grandpa”. I bought and bought and bought. When I had the parent volunteer ring up our purchases and the total was declared I nearly fainted. She asked if I’d like to put some things back, but I did not. She then confided that we had broken the record for most sold to one person! Well, can you beat that? What can I say, buying items my children picked out at the Holiday Boutique at school is a Simple Joy that made me poorer in the pocket book, but richer in my soul.

Cub Scout Pack Christmas Party. Friday night we attended the Cub Scout Pack Christmas Party. Among the activities the oldest boys’ den (WEBELOS II) buy a live tree, a strand of lights, and a stand, decorate it with candy canes and the ornaments the Pack made the week before, and donate the entire kit and caboodle to a needy family in town. We, as dens, take turn hanging our ornaments so the tree gets more decorated and beautiful with each crew hanging their handiwork. In addition, we are asked, if we can spare it, to donate food staples as the Pack donates a large turkey to the family as well. Lastly, we are told the ages and sex of the children living in the home so we might add some gifts to make their Christmas even merrier. This year I was able to fashion a gift for each of the four children in the family as well as donate a lovely meal out of non-perishable ingredients. It feels so good to help out when possible to make another’s Christmas merry. Much has been given to me so I am happy to revel in the Simple Joys of giving back.

Crafting. I’m not particularly crafty or clever. Writing is my craft, but I am certainly no Martha Stewart when it comes to artistic crafts. I happened to come across some pins that when beading is applied becomes a snowman head; it can be worn on a blouse or jacket and looks really cute. The directions are not terribly difficult, but the beads are impossibly small and my eyesight is beginning to wane. My five-year-old, when he learned of my having these kits, showed enthusiasm, so on Saturday morning when he ran out of bed at 6:30a we began. This child is focused, meticulous, and full of joy when he is presented a task. He nimbly set to work on following the directions I read and ended up with a darling finished product that I would be thrilled to receive and proud to gift another. Mostly the Simple Joy was in spending time alone with my middle guy and working together to make such a pretty end product. Spending time with the boy is a grand Simple Joy!

Simple Joys have come to my rescue time and again over the past year. It is with much relief that I write this feature weekly and revel in the gifts it provides in my life. It is why I am so passionate about sharing them because if they enrich my life, I know the ones you experience are enriching yours. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the Simple Joys through the clouds of grief, sadness, fear, and uncertainty that we encounter, but finding them results in more of them! Whether you write them down as I do or simply think about them, I wish you days filled with Simple Joys!


  1. Wonderful examples of finding joy in the simple things of life. Thanks for sharing!

  2. How I love going on Christmas lights tours! I need a wide angle lens for my camera though (hint hint Santa)

  3. What is there not to like about these articles of yours,,I am thankful that you share these things with us. I would never have the talent to put them into words like you can. Thank you again for sharing and Merry Christmas

  4. There are a lot of people in my neighborhood pulling out all the stops with the yard and light displays this year. Drove out for pet food this evening and was amazed at some of them.