Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

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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This is the time of year when I like to sort through cupboards, closets and drawers, purging things I no longer use, need, or want.

Every year, I find myself hanging on to stuff I don’t really like for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it was a gift (but isn’t my taste or style). Maybe it’s something “too nice” to get rid of. It could even be something I bought on sale and never used. (Yes, that does happen).

Have you ever walked into a room in your house and looked at something and experienced an instantaneous thought of “I don’t like that” followed by “but, (fill in the blank with a name of a relative who gives hideous gifts) gave it to me so I have to keep it.”

You don’t. You really, really don’t. If the item makes you frown instead of smile, time to put it in a box and donate it or add it to things you’re saving for your next yard sale.

When I find myself staring at an item and realizing it’s just taking up useless space, I ask myself three questions:

  1. Does it bring me joy?
  2. Does it have a sentimental value?
  3. Is it useful?

If it doesn’t meet at least one of those criteria, out it goes. Last year, I took fourteen boxes of stuff to our local Goodwill center. And although I haven’t really done much sorting yet this year, I already have half a dozen boxes of assorted stuff ready to donate.

My point of all this rambling today is that when we give ourselves permission to let go of things that don’t bring us joy, we make more room in our lives (hearts, minds, and souls) for the things that do.

One of the hardest areas for me to purge is my closet. (Anyone else have that trouble. Let’s see a show of hands!)

Here’s a super helpful chart I’ve used before (and will again) to keep my closet from overflowing.


Happy sorting and purging. May it bring you joy to clear out some of the clutter (I know I’ll be working on that this week!)

Oh, and when you ask yourself those three questions, they do not apply to immediate family members! 😉


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Joy Lessons Week 7 &8


Last weekend, we received word that Captain Cavedweller’s grandfather had been taken to the hospital. So we dropped everything and made the three+ hour drive to see him.

We were so glad we did. What we didn’t know when we left our house was that he’d suffered a major heart attack that morning and wasn’t expected to survive for long. It was hard to to see everyone struggling to let go, even though it was best for Grandpa. He passed away about thirty minutes after we arrived.

At 88, Grandpa had lived a full life. As the family sat around, sharing memories, I learned some things about him I didn’t know. Like he enlisted right after high school and spent two years in occupied Japan following World War II.

Grief is hard. So hard. But like the quote above says, it is the price we pay for love. The more we love someone, the more we grieve their passing.

But even in the grief, there is still joy: in the the memories of a life well-lived, or family well-loved, of legacies passed down that can’t be taken away even when a loved one is no longer with us.


Even in the depths of grief, there are glimmers of hope and joy.

I’m a firm believer that even though today might be trying / hard / painful / challenging / etc… something wonderful, something joyful is waiting right around the corner.

And when we switch our mindset from dwelling in what seems like darkness and focus on the light of the joy, our spirits are lifted and our burdens lighten.

May you go forward this week with glimmers of the joy ahead shining brightly in you.

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Joy Lessons Week 6


In the midst of a rather unpleasant situation this past week, I had a bit of an epiphany. The person who has being so rude and unkind and just downright ornery had nothing to do with me.


It was all on them. That nastiness began somewhere long before they interacted with me. I just happened to be the one around when they decided to let it spill out.

Mindful of this fact and with a purposeful intent of digging into my well of joy, I gave that person a hug and a smile and went on with my day. And surprisingly, the joy I’d been scrambling to find in the midst of that person’s bad behavior went right along with me.

My lesson was that even in the midst of something hard, unpleasant, unwarranted or unwanted, we can still tap into our joy.

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Something rather unpleasant, extremely frustrating, and more than a little unsettling happened last week.

And, being me, it’s hard not to mull over what happened, to think about ways I may have handled things differently — better.

The following day, Captain Cavedweller and I had plans to go do something fun we’d been looking forward to for a while.

He knew what had happened and that I was still upset, but assured me in his calm, upbeat way that everything would be fine.

So rather than ruin a perfectly lovely outing with my guy, I decided to choose joy. To let it flow through me and fill up those spaces formerly occupied with worry and anxiety. After I did, we both had a great time.

There are days when choosing joy seems like such an easy thing to do. And there are other days, when we might feel beaten down or unsettled or unhappy, when choosing joy is really hard.

But it sure is worth it.


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