It was a lazy day here at Chez Joy and we all had a hankering for something sweet. I pulled out my trusty Cake Mix Doctor cookbook (an awesome cookbook, btw) and we found Devil's Food cupcakes. My youngest donned his little chef apron and we got to work. Of course, the smell wafting through the house encouraged my middle son to help with frosting. And we HAD to have sprinkles. So now the kitchen is covered in chocolate and two kinds of frosting and sprinkles litter the floor. But those cupcakes were pure joy!
It's been a little dreary where I live. And flowers always brighten up my home. I used to wait for my husband to buy me flowers. And when he hadn't in a while I'd hint and hint until he brought me home some. But that got tiresome. And I asked myself, why do I have to wait for someone to buy me flowers? What not just buy them myself? So that's what I do. When I need a pick-me-up I buy myself some flowers. That's just what I did today. Flowers bring me joy.
It's not even my absolute favorite color. But today I'm finding joy in red. When I was younger, if I had a test that day or any other event where I might need a little boost of confidence I always wore red. It lifted my mood. Wearing it made me feel more confident. And today I woke up feeling a little low. So I put on my favorite red sweater and by mid-day I felt pretty good. Just seeing the little glimpses of red on my sleeve, or catching a quick glimpse in the mirror lifted my mood each time. Red is a joyful color to me!
Little bites of chocolate. The crunchy candy shell. The sweet, creamy, delicious chocolate in the center. The fact that it "melts in your mouth, not in your hands." My little, sweet treat at the end of the day. Sometimes it's just the simple pleasures that bring you joy. And tonight I'm finding that joy in M&Ms.
I'm tired of winter. And I live in the south! But seriously, this has been so cold. And I'm so ready for spring and it's still January. I keep checking the 10 day forecast of The Weather Channel but there's no end of this cold in sight. Oh, I know you Yankees are laughing right now. "How cold is cold?" you're asking. Well, I'm not telling. (Pouting now) It's just too cold for the south. The remedy? A cozy fire in the fireplace. And a good book. But right now I'm going to light a fire and sit on the hearth and warm these weary bones. Because I find joy in a cozy fire.
My daughter is seventeen. Almost eighteen, according to her (her birthday is still 8 months away.) And she drives. Today she helped me out immensely. She picked up the boys from school. She ran to the store for 2 forgotten ingredients for dinner. AND she put gas in my car (I hate putting gas in my car) in our frigid winter weather. My teenager drives! What joy!
I love puzzles. All kinds. My favorites right now are Sudoku, crossword, logic puzzles and, as always, jigsaw puzzles. I can get pretty obsessive about them. Someone once said to me, take notice of what is going on in your life when you seem "puzzle obsessive." And I have. I realized that when I'm all into puzzles, usually something is going on in my life that has me bothered. Puzzles provide both an escape AND a solution to what ever is bugging me. I've noticed that when my obsession is over, the conflict in my life is usually resolved. And that's why I find joy in puzzles.
My 6 year old has reached a point when he thinks he's too big for hugs and kisses. He's less snuggley than he used to be. I miss his snuggles. But today, while I was watching a favorite cooking show of ours (yes, he loves cooking shows too!) he climbed into my lap and stayed there the entire show. I couldn't believe it. And it's been a while since he's done that. I'm so glad he did. Because snuggles bring me joy.
It's been pretty cold where I live. Like most of the country, I suppose. My childhood was spent in a cold part of the country but my entire adult life has been here, in the south. I love the south. I love the sun. I love the bright, blue skies. I love little stretches of time where you only need a light jacket in the middle of winter. I'm joyfully celebrating this break of warmer weather.
I just found out someone lied to me. Stretched the truth. Avoided being honest. It's still lying. And I need to trust. "Say what you mean. Mean what you say." Be big enough to stand by what you believe in. Take the chance of disagreeing with someone else. But don't lie. Don't tell me one thing and then someone else another. Especially if there's a chance I'll find out. Because I did. And I love the joy in truth.
Have you ever loved a store so much you want to live next door to it? Crazy, I know. But that's how I feel about Whole Foods. I'm not even all that "crunchy granola." But I LOVE Whole Foods. Shopping there makes it so easy to eat organically, eat locally, eat hormone-free. All things that I try to do. Right now, as I type, I'm eating their new Superfood Salad. It a raw salad with every antioxidant yummy you can think of: kale, broccoli, sunflower seeds, cashews, blueberries, red onion, tomato. It was my lunch and it was only $0.78. Healthy AND cheap. But the closest Whole Foods is 45 minutes away. So I don't think to go there as much as I should. I write them once or twice a year begging them to build a store near me. Guess I'm just going to have to keep on writing. Because Whole Foods brings me joy!
With all of my online activity and online writing I'm suddenly acutely aware of how small our world is becoming. With texts, email, cell phones and the internet - we are so connected. I've made a few friends online that I can call or write to and it seems as if we're just a neighborhood away - instead of half a world away. Friends in other countries where we chat as if we're sitting next to each other. It's opened my eyes to how "same" we are AND how different. Being able to attach to people in other time zones so easily is joy.
I'm not much of a shopper. As a woman, I think I'm missing that particular gene. Because I've never enjoyed shopping. I don't like the crowds. I never feel as if I'm getting the best deal. I don't like wading through all of the other stuff in order to find what I came for. If the mall is quiet, with very few people and I'm alone? I don't mind browsing then. But online? I'm alone. Score 1. There are no people to wait in line behind or bump into in every aisle. Score 2. The one thing I'm looking for is quickly searched for and found. Score 3. And I can search, fairly quickly, to make sure I'm getting a pretty good deal. Score 4. I find joy in online shopping!
I love those first few hours in the morning. After I've dropped the kids off to school. After the dishwasher and washing machine are full and humming along, doing their work. After I've poured my first cup of coffee and I'm sitting, here, at the computer. And it's my time. My time to check in on my favorite blogs. Order something online. Write something for a blog or an email to a friend. My time to write and not be interrupted. Sip my coffee leisurely and wait until the one of the washing machines beckons me to unload them. My time to write brings me joy.
I love books. I love to read. And I love the library. The endless possibilities. The stacks and stacks of books. A new library opened up just a mile from my house. It has a cozy fireplace and a reading nook. I hate to admit it but I've even hired a babysitter just so I could go to the library for some peace and quiet to just sit and read. The time flies by when I'm at the library. Browsing, reading, browsing some more. The library is my little slice of heaven on earth. There is definitely joy in libraries.
With how cold it's been lately I'm finding great joy in my turtleneck sweaters. I'm the type of person that if my neck and back are warm, the rest of me is warm. I love the cozy feel a couple of my sweaters and I've been wearing them out these past few weeks. But I don't care. They're warm. They're cozy. And they make me feel good. I heart my turtleneck sweaters. They bring me joy!
I don't live near snow anymore. We get snow maybe two or three times a winter season. But my sister lives where they could have snow seven months out of the year. I used to live in that during my childhood. And today I'm remembering that wonderful quiet after it snows. It's like the big, thick blanket of snow is an insulator. It filters out all of the noise and you can hear each individual sound. I loved to take walks after it snowed. My sister called today and told me about her run in the snow today and it made me miss snow. I still don't want to be surrounded by it 7 months out of the year but I still find joy in snow.
I heard a song on the radio today and it just transformed my mood. I was crabby. I woke up late. We had to do the dreaded dash-about to get out the door in time to get everyone to school. When we rush about my kids get crabby, too. It's a nasty downward spiral I try to avoid. I was able to make everyone happy again during our 30 minute ride to school but even after they happily bounced out of the car I went back to being crabby. So I turned on the radio and there it was. A happy song. A song that is deliriously happy. I turned it up. I sang along and now I am much better for it. Joy in song!
My "ahnt," my "ant" -- however you pronounce it -- my Aunt is a joyful soul. She has taught me so much about living right now, enjoying spontaneity, not dwelling in the past. She is creative. She is so very, very helpful and kind. She is generous of her time, resources and spirit. She is interested in art and music. She's a bit of a bohemian. When I was a little girl I wanted to grow up to be just like her. I hope I've made her proud. And today is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Auntie! You are joy.
When it comes to soaps and perfumes I'm a bit flighty. I wish I had a signature scent. I really do. But I love to try new things. I love new scents for my body. I can't seem to help myself. But when it comes to a face wash? I've never had better results than with simple Noxzema Skin Cream. Not Noxzema Plus. Not Noxzema with lotion. Good, old-fashioned, original Noxzema. I started using it as a teen when my doctor recommended it. When I grew up I tried to buy the fancy products at the grown up make-up counters. They just didn't work as well. If they got my face clean, my skin felt tight and dry. If they nourished my skin, it felt dirty by mid-day. Noxzema cleans my face and keeps it supple all day long. For the past 30 years. Even though my skin has changed the results of Noxzema on my skin hasn't. And for that I find joy in Noxzema.
There is nothing like a long, steamy, hot shower. I know, not very PC or green of me. And trust me. I'm a mom. My morning routine has the bare essentials. If I have time for it, a quick shower is a plus in the morning. When I was a kid I swam on a swim team. We all raced to the showers after practice and steamed up the locker room. We'd turn our skin pink with how hot the water was. Please don't criticize. This was way before we knew anything about water conservation. And now, if I take a little longer than usual, the guilt sets in. So I don't get to take a long, hot shower very often. But when I do? Pure joy.
I have a feeling that I'm going to be posting about cookies a lot here. I love baking cookies for my kids, with my kids. I have such great memories about baking cookies when I was a child. I always wanted a mom who baked cookies that were waiting for us once we arrived home from school. I didn't have that kind of mom. My mom really didn't want to be a mom. So all of my memories are of making cookies, with my sisters, alone after school while my mom was working. But it doesn't bother me now. I loved making cookies with my sisters then and I love making cookies with my kids now. And the classic chocolate chip cookie is probably my favorite. Pour me a big glass of milk and I will joyfully dig in!
My grandmother loved cardinals. When she died I kept a needlepoint picture she had done with a cardinal on it. Because people know that I have adopted her love of cardinals I now received gifts that have cardinals on them. A few years ago, my husband bought me a beautiful bird feeder and set it up just outside our kitchen door. The door has a window so I can look out there while I'm cooking or cleaning up. We always have plenty of birdseed in it, especially the kind specifically designed to attract cardinals. That is, until a few months ago. We were so busy with guests and the holidays I kept forgetting to refill it. When I finally did the birds came back but not my sweet cardinal family. It has taken about three weeks but they came back! I am joyful that my cardinals are home again!
My husband and I started out very modestly. He was starting his business - every penny was building up his practice. We lived in an apartment - one that my mother was mortified to admit her daughter lived there. But we were happy. Struggling, but happy. And through hard work we are now living in a beautiful home. There are bedrooms for everyone. A playroom. A basement. A fenced in yard for the dog. A garden for me and a very nice kitchen painted a cheery yellow. I hate to admit it, because it seems a bit shallow, but I do find joy in my home. It makes me very happy to live here.
I have a wonderful aunt who taught me about spontaneity and living in the moment. I'll never forget one winter evening when she said, "Want to take a walk?" with a little glimmer in her eye. It was late. Almost my bedtime - so, of course, I said yes! There was a fresh layer of snow on the ground and suddenly, without warning, she plopped down on someone's lawn and made a snow angel. She got up, began to walk away and said, "Won't THEY be surprised in the morning!" So that's what we did for the rest of our walk - made snow angels on lawns in my neighborhood. It's one of my favorite memories of my aunt. And now, I find joy in snow angels.
I discovered yoga about 10 years ago. I don't practice it as often as I'd like. But when I do - especially on a regular basis it definitely brings me joy. While my sister was visiting we did yoga together every day. I sleep better when I do yoga. I feel better when I do yoga. And I honestly think I metabolize my food better when I practice yoga every day. It calms me. I feel an inch taller after a good workout. And the day seems to go by seamlessly. Things don't irritate me as much when I've practiced yoga. Yoga definitely brings me joy. No doubt about it.
The convenience of cell phones is amazing to me. When they first arrived on the scene, all clunky and awkward I thought: ehhh, they're helpful but if people REALLY need to get a hold of me they can catch me at home. I never considered the safety factor or the convenience of being out all day - not having anything at home to make for dinner and the ability to call my favorite take-out to be ready for me to pick up on my way home. Or being able to contact my teenage daughter any time, any where. Traveling and not having to give anyone an extensive itinerary - just my cell phone number. Sure, we've all had to re-think telephone etiquette. Sure, there are "inconsiderates" out there who will never learn. But if it isn't with their cell phone it would be with their car or handheld game or just their annoying personality. But MY cellphone? Joy! Pure joy!
I love Coke. The soda. (Not the other stuff!) It's awesome. I've been drinking it since I was a young kid when we knew nothing of the dangers of early soda abuse. When they changed the formula back in the 80's with "New Coke" I wrote a letter of protest. They switched back to "Coke Classic." I'd like to think my letter tipped the scale. To me, Coca Cola is elixir of the gods. Not diet, not cherry, not Coke Zero -- just regular good 'ole Coke. Yum. Cold, frosty and refreshing. The best is in fountain drink form over crushed ice but in a bottle or can will do. Coca-Cola. It is my weakness but it brings me joy.
It is so nice to touch base with an old friend. Someone you haven't seen in 20 years and it's as if nothing has changed. I just had that experience yesterday. She was an old friend from high school and we just discovered that even though we live about 1000 miles away from our home towns we're just 45 minutes away from each other now! Amazing! And we had the best time catching up over coffee this weekend. Here's to the joy of re-discovering old friends!
We live far from family. As a result, around the holidays, our home is a busy one. There was one year when we had guests staying in our home 36 out of 40 days between Thanksgiving until January 2nd. I love having family visit. I enjoy entertaining. But after the first of the year, when our home quiets down and the space becomes ours again? Heaven. No more planning elaborate menus. No more stepping over extra shoes at the front door. No more extra laundry. I can find a quiet room with no one in it. The kids can get to bed at their regular bedtime without too much fuss. I can play on the computer or watch TV without feeling guilty. Ahhh, the joy in getting my house back!
I've never been much for new year's resolutions. But I do like the promise of a new year. I love the fresh start it suggests. I look forward to the events we have coming up. Our daughter will be a senior in high school this coming fall. Our youngest will beginning grade school. We have much to look forward to. And I'm going to try to savor every moment so as not to rush things. I have a bad habit of looking so far forward I miss the "now." If I have any new year's resolution this year it will be to slow down, savor and enjoy the moment. Because this year is a promising, joyful new year. And I don't want to miss a thing!
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.