Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

Joy Lessons Week 17


For those of you who have been participating in the Joy Challenge this month, how are things going?

Do you find some days easier than others? I sure do.

But today’s challenge is “Notice the Magic.”


That seems like a fun and interesting challenge. Can you find magic in a loved one’s smile? In the colorful array of spring flowers? The decadent taste of a piece of rich, dark chocolate?

Where do you think you’ll find magic today? Wherever it is, I hope it brings you an abundance of joy!

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At the beginning of the month, I challenged myself (and anyone interested) to a 30-day Find Joy challenge.

Today’s challenge is to play with a child like a child.  And that’s why I love the above quote so much.

Most children have such an incredible view of the world – one not marred by cynicism, failures, anxiety, anger, bitterness, jealousy, or hatred.

What if we could see the world today, experience all the wonder, joy, and amazing beauty of it by looking through child-like eyes? I think I’ll find the edges soften, the colors brighten, and my heart lighten with the joy of seeing life around me anew.


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I happened upon this graphic a few weeks ago and decided it would be the perfect challenge for April!

30 ways in 30 days to Find Joy… that’s a challenge I’m giving myself and one I hope you’ll join me in.

Each day, there is a “joyful” activity suggested. Some take just a moment, others a bit more time, but hopefully, at the end of 30 days, this challenge will amp up our joy!

Today’s is easy… Sing Loudly! Do it in the car, the shower, while you’re making dinner this evening, but give it a shot. I bet it makes you smile!

If you decide to take on this challenge, feel free to post your acceptance in the comments. I’ll be cheering you on!

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Joy Lessons Week 13


On Thursday, I set aside all my to-do lists and worries about deadlines, climbed in my car, and made a five-hour drive to spend the weekend with some of my favorite people on the planet.

I have to tell you – there is so much joy in spending time around people who know you (really know you) and love you, faults and all.

As we shopped our way through a mall, we tried to recall when we first began taking these trips together. It started back around 2006 (give or take a year). My cousin Brad called and discussed doing something special and fun for his mom. I was all ears.

Brad is one of those super nice, incredibly sweet all-around great guys you are thrilled just to know. Add in the fact that his mom, my wonderful Aunt Robbie, has been like a second mother to me for my entire life, and I couldn’t refuse whatever it was he was going to ask.

My most wonderful auntie has always been extra special to me. I was born the day after Aunt Robbie’s birthday, we share the same middle name, we both love the color pink and have yet to find a mall we didn’t like.

Aunt Robbie was blessed with two boys, but no girls. So Brad proposed a few of us girl cousins do something fun with Aunt Robbie. We plotted and planned and ended up with four of us girls taking Aunt Robbie for an overnight stay in a cute little town with fun shops, great food, and a nice hotel. It was bliss!

My three cousins are daughters of my Dad’s two other sisters, both of whom have passed away. Aunt Robbie became “Mom” to us all on that trip. With each of us she loves, laughs, cries, teases and counsels – and that just makes us love her all the more.

We had such a great time on that first trip, we decided to make it an annual event. We all look forward to the time we can spend with each other, reconnecting, sharing memories, shopping, eating and enjoying the company. Our little group includes my cousins Julie, Nancy and Twylia – all fun, fantastic women in their own unique way- and Aunt Robbie.

Brad’s girlfriend, Brenda, was able to join us this year and brought even more fun to our group.

These women know how to laugh and cry. They know how to offer encouragement and support. They know how to tease and be teased. And they really know how to shop.

As we packed up our cars and prepared to head our separate ways home, we were already discussing plans for next year.

I think we all look forward to it and just enjoy that special time we have to connect, relate, and deepen our bonds of kinship and friendship.

No matter if you gather with one or a dozen, whether they are family or friends, I think everyone needs a special weekend now and again to reconnect, to grow, to just be and celebrate the joy of spending time with special people you love.

It does your heart and spirit so much good!

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Joy Lessons Week 12


Happy First Day of Spring, everyone!

Although it is rainy and foggy here today (what a combination), I’m so excited it is finally spring. This weekend, I even saw a robin playing in the cat’s water bowl, splashing and shaking its tail feathers, having a marvelous time.

And this morning, I feel a little bit like that robin, excited and full of joy (even if I have no plans of shaking my tail feathers around) because it is officially spring.

Spring is such a beautiful, glorious time for so many reasons. It means winter is behind us (something I cheer about every year). It means new life is springing up all around us as the grass begins to turn green, flowers begin to bloom, temperatures warm, and the sky seems bluer. To me, spring is also about renewal and hope and faith.

It’s about filling our hearts with joy brought on by the possibilities and wonder that await us.

Today, I wish you all a heart full of joy as we welcome in the arrival of spring.

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Joy Lessons Week 11


The other day I unwrapped one of my favorite dark chocolate treats and inside the wrapper it said, “Joy is contagious.”

Taken aback by this little nugget of wisdom inside my decadent candy, I stared at it for a few minutes, just thinking about how true that is.

While some people will say misery loves company, what really loves company is joy! When we are filled with joy and happiness, for the most part, we want to share that with others, to brighten their day, to give them a little piece of our inner sunshine.

I just love that thought that joy is contagious.

Contagious is defined as: tending to spread from person to person.

So… what if we each make it a point to spread a little joy this week. How many people can you infect with joy?

I’d love it if we all gave it a try. You can even come back here next week and share your results if you like.

Here’s to a week filled with contagious joy!



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Joy Lessons Week 10


For the most part, I avoid things that will draw me down the road to nostalgia because despite the sweetness of the memories, there are those that truly do sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.

Last week, my awesome cousin, Brad, and his equally awesome girlfriend, Brenda, gave me a flash drive full of photographs my uncle had taken years and years ago. The images were originally a collection of slides and I’d never seen any of them.

Brad and Brenda cleverly took photos of the slides when they watched them at Christmas with my beloved auntie then saved all the photos on DVDs and flash drives, making them so much more usable.

As I opened the file and began looking through the images (many taken years and years before I was born), that feeling of nostalgia swept over me.

There, in beautiful full-color photos were images of my family. Those still with us and those I miss so much… like my grandparents. My grandpa passed away when I was just thirteen.

There were my two vibrant aunts, both lost to cancer.

My uncles, including my dear Uncle Mel who took most of the photos.

And my sister, captured in her teen years.

shelley and deb with Dynamite

Here, she’s riding my pony, Dynamite, while my sister-in-law leads it. My brother and two cousins stand in the background.

Doug and Kim Christmas at GG Wiggins

Not all the photos made my eyes leak, though. This one made me laugh aloud. These two goofy guys are my brothers. The one on the left obviously needed to have a very intense fashion intervention before he left the house. I’m kind of surprised Mom let him go out wearing that vest with that shirt. Oh, and check out the sideburns. Nice, guys. Really nice.

skating party

Apparently, one year my parents hosted the annual Christmas gathering we didn’t have snow, so instead of sledding, everyone skated on our pond. There are so many things about this picture that makes me smile, not the least of which that my fashion-challenged brother rode his motorbike to the pond. I’m assuming if the pond is frozen that solid, it had to have been cold. (Also evidenced by the way my aunts are bundled up in their furry-collar coats.)

There were also some photos of me I had no idea existed.

baby with Aunt Lo

Like this one of my Aunt Loletia holding me when I was just two months old. She passed away just a few years after Captain Cavedweller and I wed.


at the farm 1972

Or this photo taken the summer before I turned two. Apparently, I loved the color pink even then, and liked to blend my girly side (notice the doll in my hand) while still doing my best at being a farm girl (straw in the background). We will not discuss the weird, ugly brown shoes I’m wearing.

Christmas 1972

And this one, taken the Christmas after my second birthday. Rather wistful looking, don’t you think? Since I was the only baby in the extended family at that time, I can’t help but wonder what I’m looking at? Which cousin got something shiny or nifty that caught my interest?

Okay, enough strolling down memory lane. I’ll wrap up the rambling and get to the point of this week’s lesson which is this:

Even when we know something (especially a memory) will make us nostalgic and sad and cause our hearts to pinch a little, there is still joy in it too.

Don’t miss out on the joy because you want to avoid the tears. Smile while those memories leak from your eyes and roll down your cheeks, knowing it’s a blessing to have memories like that.


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