Heart and Soul posts pictures and images that remind me it’s not only okay but vital to sink into sweet things, instead of letting them fly by unnoticed. Today’s post is no exception, and I’m delighted to share her uplifting words here.
Gardening hopes and dreams
To feel immense joy a person must be ready for it. Open your heart to small moments. It’s living without blinders on but with a conscious awareness of joy. When you welcome anything that could make life better, a friend’s hug, a thoughtful compliment, a shared smile, a sunset for your viewing, I believe that’s your joy.
Joy means to me…
small moments that may seem insignificant to others but mean the world to me!
Joy means to me…
a quiet moment walking my yard and thanking God for its peace.
The incredible feeling I get when baking for my family and seeing their contentment when biting into a dessert.
Having my morning cup of coffee in peace, while watching flowers adorn our yard, outside my window and through the open screen smelling their very essence.
Picking weeds and digging in soil that a farmer did the very same thing in the early 1900’s, our gardening hopes and dreams the same, all except a passage of time of over a century.
Digging in the soil with high hopes of cultivating food for our family. Food that I know where it comes from and it’s as organic as you can get.
Quietly watching a graceful deer cautiously cross the road, skirting the edge of our running pond. The joy of wildlife surrounding our little abode and the expectations of many more sudden visits.
Seeing people from the past come out of the woodwork and all at the same grocery store. Being outgoing around old acquaintances and connecting once again.
Feeling the social connection that summer brings because warm weather brings everyone out and about.
A walk on the beach gazing at a vast ocean of beauty. Smelling the salty and fishy air while digging my bare toes in the scorching sand.
Listening and and dancing to music at an exciting concert. Seeing flashy colorful lights and appreciating music and it how it affects my soul!
Being with my family and talking, especially laughing! This is so good for the soul!
All my different experiences, the sources of my joy, all have a common factor. They are simple moments, mostly indulging in nature and simplicity. If you don’t know what brings you joy, pay attention. Write down things that make you happy or cause you to laugh deep in your belly. Notice these special people, things or places that cause you to feel joy. Once you know what they are, hold on to them with all your might. Make every effort to experience these joyful moments every single day!
Catherine (Ten Thousand Hour Mama) and I became blog friends after a mutual acquaintance shared one of her posts with me. We’ve only met once in person, but meet in heart/words as often as our demanding schedules enable.
She blogs about motherhood–the good, the bad, and the messy enough to require a garden hose. She lives in Oregon with her husband, two girls and dog. For craft ideas, parenting tips and the reassuring knowledge that you’re not the only one who swears in front of the littles, read along or follow on Facebook and Twitter.
Letting the good times roll
The other day I met a friend and her kids at a park across town. The playground sat at the top of an enormous hill. Peeper, my almost-three-year-old, watched as my friend’s kids rolled down the hill, giggling.
“Do you want to give it a try, too?” I asked my daughter. She is sometimes shy around other kids, often preferring to talk with adults or older children.
“Yes,” she finally said.
Another little girl tried to explain the mechanics of rolling down the hill. Peeper watched and tried it herself, but she still had a hard time.
“Mama, will you show me?” she asked.
I’m not sure about you, but the last time I rolled down a hill was circa 1990. But I’d do just about anything for my munchkin, so I got down on the grass. I lay down on my side. And I started to roll.
As the world spun around me and I gained momentum, I began to laugh. Really laugh. Within a few revolutions I was laughing with complete abandon.
I came to a stop where the hill leveled out and I sat up. I looked to the top of the hill, still laughing. Peeper was watching me, a big smile on her face. My friend and her kids were grinning, too. Unsteadily, I got to my feet and walked up the hill to help her do the same.
Seeing an old hill-roller helped her figure out how to do it herself. She liked it, but she was content to stop after a few gos. She moved on to climbing the spider web-like ropes and zipping down the slide.
We didn’t stay much longer; we drove home for lunch, my almost-one-year-old’s naps and the more mundane parts of the day.
Later in the day, I squirmed as I felt something poke my back. I took off my sweatshirt and pulled out a sharp piece of grass—leftovers from my roll. I smiled, temporarily transported back to the sunny morning.
For just a few seconds, I had given in to the freedom of being a child. I had followed an impulse (it was my daughter’s, not mine, but still—it was spontaneous). I had let go of a grown-up’s inhibitions (What do you mean adults don’t roll down hills? Watch me!). And I had enjoyed something pure and joyful.
Here’s where a grown-up’s filters kick in. You rolled down a hill; you didn’t do anything spectacular, a voice in my head chides me. You’re reading too much into it. Get over yourself.
In some ways, its very un-spectacular-ness is why a 32-year-old rolling down a hill is so wonderful. Because there’s nothing remarkable about a kid letting go and doing something just for the fun of it.
We could all stand to be un-spectacular like that. My girls constantly experience the joy in the moment: Peeper paints her entire body with watercolors because she likes the patterns and the tickly feeling on her skin. Lately Kiwi pauses in her play to lay her head down on the ground, we think just to feel the sensation of whatever is below her: carpet, our dog’s back, the wet pavement at the splash pad.
That’s what I did on the park hill, if even for just a few seconds. I let go—of judgment, of ideas of what I “should” do, of the separation that keeps us parents on the ground instead of on the monkey bars. As gravity took over and pulled me down the hill, I gave up control.
I won’t spend every day rolling down hills—or pulling pokey sticks and grass out of my clothes. That’s ok. But every so often, even for just a few seconds, I’ll surrender to the joyous momentum of living and laughing like a child.
Kim (Little Bits of Heaven) and I have only known each other for months, but it feels to me as if we’ve known each other since before words. She writes with great love woven through with strands of bittersweet, her compassion today a conscious, considered departure from bitter befores. We don’t share a family tree, but to my heart, she is a sister.
A cool breeze on a hot day
Watching it roll through my daughter’s hair
A warm puddle for my cold toes on our walks to school
Waiting for my son to jump in
Dirt on my hands from planting seeds
Wresting to keep baby from eating them
After the storm
When we know we’ve made it through
Perhaps better than before
In the cold times
When our hearts are not hardened by our loss
But made stronger by our faith
When fire rips through our lives
And through the smoke we see the new
New beginnings, new life, new hope
Finding that someone whose laugh is worse than yours
But knowing it’s all you want to hear
Celebrating a sunrise
Because you’ve seen it one more day
Toasting a sunset
Because the clouds have gone away
Interested in participating? Click here.
Owen (poetry blog; prose blog) is a highly creative mathematician with, in his words, “no talent for certainty” but “some capacity for empathy.” That “some” is one of the greatest understatements I’ve witnessed in my life so far. Empathy flows through his poetry and prose such that my days feel kinder by far when interspersed with his words.
Joy in Creation
When it comes to thinking about what brings me joy on a daily basis, my problem is limiting my answer to one thing.
I love to write, it brings me joy. I love to play the piano, it brings me joy. I love just talking to my wife, she brings me joy. I love playing with my grandsons, they bring me joy.
I love my job; I love to read; I love to drive down any road I’ve never been on. I love looking through pictures for poem ideas; I love stretching my muscles; and something as simple as a sip of a Pepsi brings me joy.
Running through much of this is this: the experience of creativity, whether mine or someone else’s, brings me joy. I love watching children creating new games from old ones; I love trading absurdist banter with my sons online; I love the more elaborate creativity of writers, artists, and companies of people who band together to make the more complex cooperative creative things, like television shows or movies.
I work at a business in a mathematical field, but everyone where I work recognizes the look of any work product I’ve done – i.e., they immediately know it was me that did it or designed it – because it doesn’t look like anyone else’s work. I can’t keep creativity out, and I’m grateful I don’t have to.
There is so much pure, daily joy in just making something that wasn’t there before, and as long as the joy remains in the creation and not in other people’s approval of it, it is a joy that can’t be sullied.
Interested in participating? Click here.
Jennifer and I met through my husband several years ago. We don’t often see each other face to face, but I am ever so glad when we do get the chance.
My needles sing my love for you
In loops of sympathetic wool
And cooler cotton comforts
To hold your hand when I cannot
Rows of patient Vs stretch from hem to hem-
And heart to heart-
That you might never feel a breeze without my arms around you
My needles sing my hopes for you
In tiny cuffs and buttons
Too small for grown up collars
But big enough to hold the world at bay
And strong enough to bear each step
you take away from me
My needles sing my memories
And cast love into lasting stitches
That some day, when my needles no longer sing,
You might in tissued boxes find my folded love song
And feel your mother’s arms around you
My kiss, in woolen whispers, pressed against your cheek
Joy in Creation : next
A couple days ago, I wrote about a doctor who prescribed me joy.
I explained how this prescription changed how I feel about “just hanging on”:
Beyond that, please don’t just hang on.
Reach toward joyful things.
Seek out and savor that which brings you closer to joy.
Prescribe yourself joy, and enjoy its sweet taste on your tongue at least daily.
I asked you to stay tuned for a guest post request. This post is that request.
I’d like you to sing out what brings you joy. You can do this by actual song, or by prose, poem, collage, interpretive dance, vlog, or whatever other mean feels right and joyous to you. Read more…
I’ve listened to the Hamilton soundtrack almost non-stop for the last month and a half.
As each workday has neared its end, I’ve noticed the time and found myself excited about my long commute. Instead of thinking a string of expletives about my drive, I’ve thought, “It’s almost Hamilton time!”
The recording translated a cost to a benefit.
It invigorated me.
I met my new doctor early last month.
A couple of weeks after we met, he provided patient instructions incuding the following: “make sure you take time for yourself every day – personal time – to relax/do your favorite activity – even if only for a short period.”
I rejoiced his compassionate instruction, but I was also perplexed: What do I even enjoy anymore?
It had been so long since the question even seemed relevant.
It took me a couple of weeks to realize my heart already recognized the answer my head did not: I enjoy the hell out of Hamilton.
I didn’t bother long with wondering why. In light of my doctor’s prescription, the joy was far more important than its rationale.
For months, I’ve wanted to host another guest post series, but I couldn’t find a topic. That, I found on the freeway about a week ago. Read more…