My husband practices Chinese Medicine. He knows quite a bit about herbs, vitamins and other supplements. He has me on a regimen that I didn't have a whole lot of faith would work. But it is. I'm sleeping better. And because I'm sleeping better, I'm needing a little less sleep - which is awesome! Because, no matter how much I know I need it, I hate sleeping. It seems to be such a waste of time. But now I'm appreciating the value of sleep and the herbs and supplements are helping so much! Who knew there could be joy in supplements?
Peace and quiet. It isn't going to last long. In fact, I feel it may be ending soon. But I have had a quiet house for about 30 minutes now. No calls for mom to help, no "I'm hungry"s, no TV blaring or xBox blasting. Just sweet silence. (Well, except for the hum of the dryer) True bliss. And joyful, joyful silence.
I heard from an old friend today. She moved back to her native home of Canada a few years ago. We try to keep in touch but with the time difference and both of us with three kids each and just the life that happens in between, it's difficult. She wrote me today and it was so fun to "hear" her voice through her email. What is it about email, taking away the need to lick an envelope and slap on a stamp, that makes it so much easier than snail mail? But it is. Easier. Maybe not as nice holding a letter in your hands, but still - very easy, quick and accessible. And today an email brought me such joy!
Best. Toy Story. Ever. I mean it. I loved #1. Two was entertaining and fun. But #3? Funny. Fun. Clever. Visually stunning. Great story. Fantastic dialogue. And it made me cry. Twice. And I'm not a crier - especially in public. If I thought people wouldn't hear or see me, I would have bawled. My husband even admitted to crying at one spot. The boys loved it. They wanted to see it again as we were walking out of the theater. Toy Story 3 didn't just bring joy to me - it brought joy to my whole family!
I was going to post something else. But then I typed "Day 200" and my heart skipped a beat. Two hundred days of joy! Amazing. I can't believe I've been doing this for 200 days. And I can't wait for my year anniversary. Could there be a two year or a three year anniversary? Well, I haven't stopped yet and I have no plans of stopping. What makes me happy? Daily joy!
Nothing says summer like ice cream. Cones, sundaes, floats. Doesn't matter. Creamy, cold ice cream on a hot day is pure heaven. I can't even say I have a favorite flavor. Chocolate, black raspberry, vanilla, pralines and cream, moosetracks, chunky monkey, chocolate chip, jamoca almond fudge, banana, cherry vanilla, pistachio, ginger, fudge ripple. Today, strawberry brings me joy!
Silly, right? Hand soap? My mother-in-law criticizes when she visits, seeing a 10 dollar (I buy them at the outlet store) container of hand soap on my kitchen counter. But I love the scents. I love the quality. I love the way it suds up. I've never experimented before (and maybe I need to) but I'll bet my 10 dollar bottle of hand soap lasts longer than 10 one dollar bottles of the cheaper brands. But I don't care. I love my hand soap. Every time I'm in the kitchen and I wash my hands? Little suds of joy!
My boys attended a soccer camp last week. Just in the mornings for three hours, but they loved it. Absolutely adored it. They've participated before but for some reason they were much more into it this year. And it just so happened to fall during the 2010 World Cup. We have been having so much fun watching. My son turned to me this morning and said, "Man! These guys are good!" It made me giggle. It made me realize that soccer (a sport I know nothing about) is bringing me joy!
I've been having some struggles in my life lately. And I've been unmotivated and just plain blah. I looked at my husband the other night and said, "I think I might be depressed." And it was a revelation of sorts. I'm not prone to sad thoughts. Sitting around moping. And I don't like it. But when I write, here and elsewhere, I feel so much better. Writing is a therapeutic exercise. And it puts the joy back in my life.
It has been hot, hot, hot where I live. Breaking records hot. And as much as I love a cool, refreshing coke, my drink of choice when I'm hot? Sweet tea with extra lemon. And it HAS to have the lemon. If a restaurant doesn't have lemon (and some don't! Can you believe it?) I have them mix my tea with lemonade. But today I didn't have to mix my tea with anything. It was perfect, unadulterated sweet tea. With little cubes of ice and 3 lemon slices swimming in a tall glass. Heaven. Nope. Make that joy!
I miss my father. No, he hasn't died. We're just not as close anymore. Saying that makes me sad is an understatement. But then there is the father of my children. And he truly is an amazing dad. So when I focus on that I'm not so sad anymore. He plays with them. He takes over when I've had a long day. He makes time for them. I can't imagine him pulling away from his kids. He will always want to be a part of their lives. Yep. The father of my children brings me joy!
What is it about crushed ice that makes drinks taste so good? I love crushed ice. On a hot day. Over lemonade, orange juice, water but especially Coca-Cola! If I have a craving for a fountain Coke I hunt down the drive-thrus near me that serve crushed ice. I can always count on Zaxby's. Mmmmmm. Crushed ice. And swimming in Coke? Delicious joy!
Don't get me wrong, I love to cook. But sometimes the schedule is crazy, or I'm out of ideas or energy or time. Tonight I had a pool committee meeting for our neighborhood. On a Friday. But it was an emergency meeting, pertinent issues to discuss. So I called my husband and he suggested we just pick up subs, eat them at the pool, let the boys play for awhile and then I'd scoot off to my meeting. How easy is that? Usually I'm all about the joy of cooking. But tonight? There was joy in not having to cook!
We're a little late making vacation plans. To be quite honest, we weren't sure that we were going on a vacation this year. But taking another look at the checkbook, at the savings account, we've decided to splurge on a long 5 day weekend. Good friends of ours are going to share the expenses and we've been hunting and hunting on the internet for a condo on the beach that would take us for 4 nights. Frustrated and ready to give up, I decided to call a company that specializes in beach rentals rather than fill out more forms and send more owners emails. It was so good to speak to someone. Tell them exactly what we needed and see what they could do. And within minutes the voice at the other end of the line had the perfect condo. It wasn't right on the beach, but a 5 minute walk. We can handle that. Lots of space. We can eat in if we want to. Visit with each other after the kids are in bed. It sounds perfect. And having a voice to confirm our reservation? Joy!
Thank goodness my daughter doesn't know about this blog. Because I'd never call her a "live-in babysitter" within earshot. But today she was a complete God-send. I had so much to do and she saw how hard I was working, but spinning my wheels because the boys were underfoot. "Mom? Do you want me to take them off your hands for awhile?" I nearly wept. So, she took them bowling ($1 per game summer specials) and I got so much done. I love my daughter! My live-in babysitter is pure joy!
My boys have soccer camp this week. My oldest son was anxious about it. He typically is about change. And while he's done this particular soccer camp before, he was anticipating not enjoying it this year. He spoke to me about his worries and I told him he was going to have a blast. Today, he came home all excited. Rattling on about how he scored a goal and he learned a new trick and how his team won the first game but not the second. Then he looked at me, flushed with excitement and said, "Mom? Remember when you said I'd have a blast at soccer camp this year? Well, you were right!" Ah, the joys of soccer camp!
I love to travel. I love to see new things, try new things and experience new surroundings. But there is no place like home. And coming home after a long trip is so comforting, so joyful. Whether it is for business or pleasure, there's nothing like the familiarity of home. It was a long day in the car. We're tired. We're crabby. But boy oh boy - is there JOY in coming home!
My grandmother's cucumber salad was the best. Thinly sliced. Just the right hint of fresh dill and salt. Creamy sour cream dressing. Thankfully, my boys like it, too. And the summer heat is the perfect time for this refreshing salad. I even like the process of making it. Chopping even slices. Marinating it in the salt and dill. Stirring to make sure every slice is coated. Yummy! There is joy in cucumber salad!
Talk about a cookie that takes me back to my childhood! I love Nutter Butters. My grandmother would buy them for us and we always had them for a snack at her house. Dunking them in our milk. Or splitting them apart like an Oreo cookie and licking out that delicious peanut butter cream. I can't believe I have never introduced my kids to these cookies. We bake a lot of our own and I don't buy store bought cookies much. But they were on sale at our grocery store so my kids tried them today. They found joy in them, too!
My husband and kids know exactly what to get me. An iTunes gift card. I love my iPod but I don't always want to shell out the money for new tunes. That's why I love getting iTunes gift cards. I can spend hours downloading, researching and listening to new music. This past week I used my last gift card. (Time for more, people!) But I won't think about how I'm all out of gift cards. Today, I'll just think about the joy they bring!
Pencils. The real kind. Not mechanical. Lead pencils. No. 2. Like we had in school. There is just something about a real pencil, scratching a note or doing some quick math, that I just love. Maybe it's the former teacher in me. Maybe it's the fact that I adore school and would be a professional student if there were such a profession. But today I had a use for a pencil a number of times. When I was on the phone I found myself searching out my pencil so I could doodle while I talked. I know. Weird. But I find joy in pencils.
I'm not a scrapbooker. I wish I was. I wish I had all the time to practice such a wonderful, creative activity. But I don't. It's enough for me to sit down and slip a few pictures (in chronological order) into a photo album. And I've been pretty good at that over the past few years. And even though I'm about 6-8 months behind, my kids still love sitting down and taking a peek at the special albums I have set aside just for them. Today, we settled into the couch and took a peek at each of their albums. It was so fun reminiscing and seeing just how much they've grown. Even though they're not up-to-date, there was joy in our photo albums.
Sweet Eva, at Eva Evolving, bestowed an award on me and I am beyond joy! My followers are very few. OK. One. My traffic is small. But, I'm not doing this for popularity. I'm doing this to make sure that I stop, once a day, and recognize the joy in my life. Hopefully, I encourage others to do the same. Hopefully, this blog is an inspiration for other joyful projects. And today, I am hopping up and down with joy because of this award! Thank you, Eva for bringing me so much joy today!
The latest craze - Silly Bandz! Why couldn't I have been the mother that invented these silly things? My kids love them and today I found them to be quite the motivator. A packet of Silly Bandz for a bunch of extra chores around the house. Above and beyond the call of duty extra chores. Instead of grumbling and doing the job half-way we had happy little workers, doing an extra good job. Just because I dangled a bag of Silly Bandz as a prize. Joy to Silly Bandz!
I'm a spiritual person. I'm not an overtly religious person. And I don't go to church as often as I'd like. But there are times, like today, when I need to go. I have to go. It's the only way I'll find peace in my heart. Thank goodness for church. It brings me peace. It brings me comfort. It brings me joy.
My boys love to be read a story before bedtime. And I'm finding that they don't care what it is, as long as Mommy reads to them. Because I couldn't find my daughter's copy of "Harry Potter", we started Alice in Wonderland, instead. I'm enjoying it. I'd forgotten how fun, silly and wise it was. My boys? I can't really tell. But they love to be read to, so as long as I'm reading I'm not sure they care what it is. At least I'm finding joy in Alice in Wonderland.
I know I've sung the praises of leftovers before but tonight they were a lifesaver. Ok. That might be a bit melodramatic but I found joy in them, all the same. We were going to order pizza and take it to our neighborhood pool for a fun evening dinner. The kids would swim and my husband and I would enjoy each other's company, nibbling on the left over pizza crust. But just as I was going to tell the kids to put their suits on and order, the sky opened up. Lightning. Thunder. The works. I took a peek at the radar and we were stuck for a while. I didn't want to go out in that mess and I certainly didn't want to have a pizza driver have to deliver in it. So I went to the freezer, pulled out a frozen soup from a month ago and Voila! Dinner is served thanks to joyful leftovers!
I was never a coffee drinker. In fact, I didn't really enjoy my first cup until I was in my mid 30's. And then? You couldn't stop me. I don't drink a ton - just about 5 cups a week. But when I do, I sip. I cradle the cup in my hands. I savor. I enjoy a slow, hot cup of coffee - lightly sweetened and a dash or two of cream. And this morning, the kids were all occupied upstairs leaving me in peace to savor a delicious cup. There is joy in a cup of coffee.
I enjoy television. I enjoy it a little too much. I get wrapped up in more than my fair share of series, TiVo-ing them to watch later. To the point that my TiVo hovers at full most of the year. Thank goodness for season finales. I have vowed not to get involved in any new series until the fall - at least. And I'm slowly watching and deleting the final episodes (of the season, anyway) of my favorite shows: House, 30 Rock, Big Bang Theory, Flashforward, Law & Order (bye-bye L&O - you'll be missed!) I'll miss you all until the fall - but there's a part of my that is glad we're taking a break from each other. Ah, the joy of season finales!
I have a strained relationship with my parents. As a result, I keep a therapist on retainer. I used to see one regularly. As I've grown, I just check in with her on a sporadic basis. But I have a trip, an unavoidable family obligation, coming up. So I'm a bit extra stressed. A bit extra anxious. Talking to someone, thinking and musing out loud about how to handle the unforeseen is such a healthy, helpful thing for me. And today it was pure joy having someone to talk to about my fears!
A friend once told me that she tries to find joy in every day. But some weeks it's hard. A whole week without finding joy? That is so sad. I find joy in EVERY day. Or so I think. So I'm testing myself. I am challenging myself to find joy in every single day. Without fail. I will post joy every single day to prove it to myself, to inspire others. Just to see if I can do it. Small bits of joy. Large, monumental moments of joy. But joy is what you will find here.