Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Simple Joys

Welcome to Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter.

Finding and recognizing my Simple Joys again in the last couple of weeks has truly enriched my life. By constantly being on the lookout I find I am more able to live in the moment, experience joy even if it is fleeting, and look forward to every opportunity to find ever more joy.

These personal findings aren’t meant to do anything than to keep my perspective. I’m neither preaching nor bragging. I simply want to share with you the times I found Simple Joys in the last week. It helps me keep balance and perspective in my overly busy, stressful life, and I hope it inspires you to do the same.

And now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Twitter friendship – It’s difficult to say Twitter “followers” and “followees” are friends, but some actually do become ones. I have some awesome friendships that began there – Doc, Johnny, Ted, JJ, and more – and others who became fun acquaintances.

When one of my friends retweeted (RT) my last week’s Simple Joys post, one of her friends RT’d it, too. The assumption was that I suffered from “Fibro”. I quickly corrected the error – I don’t – but was stricken with two thoughts. First, how sad it is that people suffer from all types of conditions “24 hours a day in pain” as I was told. Second, how my Simple Joys piece resonated so strongly with this community.

Having my work – truly a selfish piece – impacting people so strongly is a Simple Joy that is powerful and humbling.

Facebook Birthday Greetings. Over the years replying to Facebook birthday greetings took a small part of my day and was always enjoyable.

It’s still immensely enjoyable to see all of the lovely birthday greetings, but now there are so many I’m hard pressed to keep up with all of them. I am NOT complaining. It means the world to me to see the multiple good wishes, heartfelt hellos, and good will being sent my way.

Having a plethora of friends sending wonderful birthday wishes on Facebook is an overwhelming Simple Joy!

Birthday dinner. Some people spend their birthday dinners going out to dinner and I admit I do enjoy doing just that. This year, however, with my birthday falling on a Saturday, a larger group than normal gathered, and still having young children, I chose a meal at home.

With extended family, the best of summer’s fresh produce, and a gorgeous night weather-wise, I had one of the best birthdays of my life!

Spending my birthday dinner at home surrounded by loved ones was a most pleasing and excellent Simple Joy.

Birthday Race Chat. Once the dinner party was over and the children were tucked into bed, each with a story, I relaxed into the last part of my evening watching the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Bristol. I watch the race while chatting with my friends on the Drafting the Circuits Facebook page.

I’m not one to sit still and watch a race for four hours from start to finish alone, but while hanging out online, chatting with my friends, the time melts away. It was a thrill to get back to my online life during a race!

Indulging in watching a NASCAR race with my online friends is a consistent Simple Joy.

Russell Stover Candy. My big brother was able to spend my birthday with me; he arrived from out-of-state to join me for dinner. He brought a big hug, a sweet card, and a box of Russell Stover’s Candy.

At dessert I opened the box and everybody delighted in their favorite candy. It’s like a tiny bit of Christmas on a summer’s night.
The candy was scrumptious! Sometimes a little sweetness and choice makes the day perfect!

Having a fresh box of Russell Stover’s Candy to close out my birthday celebration was a sweet Simple Joy.

My Simple Joys revolved around people – and chocolate – this week.

As I get older I realize so much more clearly that a present for a birthday means far less than a relative being at the dinner table.
That a person’s richness is measured by how many lives they touch and who remembers them fondly than by how much is in their wallet is another lesson I’m learning.

Remembering to look for Simple Joys – good health, pain-free day or hour or even minute, surrounding oneself with family and friends – and appreciating them in every form is powerful.

Even in this short time I have gained so much from paying attention to my Simple Joys. I’ll continue to write mine weekly. My hope is that in some way you find a way to spot your Simple Joys throughout the week.

Wishing you a week filled with Simple Joys!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Simple Joys

Welcome to the return of Simple Joys on Chief 187™Chatter!

Simple Joys was originally a one-off piece I wrote years ago. I was feeling good, had some wonderful things happening in my life, and wanted to list them to share with my readership.

The piece had enormous popularity and became a weekly feature. I cherished writing each week the various Simple Joys in my life.

It was a difficult decision to discontinue writing Simple Joys this year. I was feeling burned out between my five-day-a-week personal blog and my three articles per week plus two radio shows per week work schedule. Add that articles to edit, upload, add pictures to, and promote for my writers, my time was stretched to the limit. Something had to give and Chief 187™Chatter was it.

What I’ve found, however, is that I cannot afford to NOT write Simple Joys.

Without it, I lose perspective. I forget to look for the Simple Joys all around. In short, I lose joy.

So, it’s time to reinstitute this old friend.

It’s time to open my heart and mind to all the goodness around in my life.

My children frustrate the heck out of me, but they’re my favorite people.

My husband and I get off track, but he is the one great love of my life.

My friends are sometimes neglected by me, but they lift and cheer me endlessly.

My work can be stressful, but it satisfies me in myriad ways.

Overall, I am so blessed by my life.

But without consciously sitting back to write about my Simple Joys, I tend to lose sight of them.
I cannot allow that to happen anymore.

So now, without further ado, is this week’s Simple Joys.

Visit. I haven’t seen my cousin since I was a kid. Thanks to social media we’ve been reacquainted for years and he even writes for me and attends races for Drafting the Circuits. Finally our paths crossed this week – he was visiting all sorts of family in the northeast. I was overjoyed to see my cousin, meet his beautiful family, and speak to him eye to eye once again.

Taking time for visits with loved ones is a Simple Joy I savor.

Hair. I have always touted the virtues of getting my hair done professionally and I’m not going back on those words. But this summer I decided to “freestyle” my hair and haven’t had it trimmed since May. The freedom of letting my hair be itself, wearing it in different styles that not having strict bangs allows, and just embracing a “newness” has been liberating and so dang fun!
I’m sure I’ll go back to the professional stylist I love and respect, but letting my hair grow freely has been a first-time Simple Joy for me!

Exercise. In case you don’t know me, I’m Human. I try to exercise and eat right regularly but have never fully succeeded in “dropping pounds and dress sizes” or stay consistent in my routine. But finally my size and health became a concern and exercising has become a joy once again. I feel instantly better, have a more positive view of life, and can see the scale finally go in the right direction. The best part? I’ve enlisted my oldest child to workout with me so he reaps the benefits and makes exercise a part of his daily life.

Adding exercise into my life is a valuable Simple Joy.

Birthday. It’s my birthday at the end of the week. I actually enjoy my birthday and don’t fret about aging. Let’s face it, it beats the alternative! I have nothing formally planned for my day, but look forward to fun times with my family!

Embracing my birthday with the same enthusiasm I had as a child is a powerful Simple Joy.

Cannoli. I make cakes a lot throughout the year for birthdays, dinner parties and the like. But I don’t love cake. So, for my birthday, I asked to have one of my favorite desserts. Cannoli. Done right there are few desserts I like more than the crisp cone, creamy sweetness, and chocolate chip-filled awesomeness of a cannoli.

Having what I like on my birthday is a sweet Simple Joy.

This is my list. The goal of this column is two-fold. First, it’s to keep my thoughts, feelings, and moods in perspective. Secondly, it is to offer you, the reader, a springboard to concentrate on your own Simple Joys.

Whatever you are going through, no matter how dire, consuming, and endless, Simple Joys do exist for all.

They can be fleeting, casual, or completely life-changing, but they are available to all.

I had forgotten that these last several months. My goal is to write this column weekly to never forget.

Let’s take this journey together.

Thank you for joining me for Simple Joys.